50/50 Draw
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Testimonial from Alex on WoodGreen Community Services

10/28/2016 10:42:06 AM
My name is Alex Di Noia and I’m the youth settlement counsellor and soccer league convener for the Newcomer Youth Soccer League funded by the MLSE Foundation at WoodGreen Community Services. I’ve been involved in youth settlement work and recreational soccer in Toronto since 2009. Having been born and raised in Argentina, I grew up playing and loving soccer. I cherish the opportunity to help grow the sport in Toronto and in that pursuit I have also occupied the roles of youth coach and referee at various organizations across the city.

In my previous roles as a youth settlement worker in Toronto I started a soccer program as part of my outreach efforts to reach newcomer youth. What started as a single soccer team in 2010 developed into an in-house soccer league in 2011 and eventually a city-wide, inter-agency soccer league with more than 150 participants in two separate age divisions in 2012 and 2013. This final version of the program also led to employment opportunities by providing youth with referee training and encouraged healthy lifestyles through anti-tobacco education.

While, at face value, soccer may seem like just a recreational activity it is an incredibly effective tool at facilitating newcomer integration. When adapting to a new country, a new home and a new culture, the sense of familiarity that a beloved activity can provide is invaluable. Soccer programs are also a vehicle to develop leadership skills and foster lasting friendships.