By Hilda Mendoza
What started in El Paso 20 years ago as a brand new sport for girls, has grown today into a well-organized sports field with two private soccer academies. Soccer has become a popular sport in El Paso. It’s not uncommon to see a girl playing soccer in school or park.
Iram Santiago, sports director at the El Paso Park and Recreation Department and a basketball teacher at the University of Texas at El Paso, said: “There are two academies–the Cobras and CosmosFC Academy El Paso. The academies help players to learn skills and to get opportunities to play professionally.”
He adds that these two local academies for girls soccer have grown each year. The CosmosFC Academy currently has 10 girl’s soccer teams, with 15 players each. The Cobras consists of one team of 15 players.
The academies have been developing over the last years, each with their own history.
“Girls have been playing soccer since 30 years ago,” Santiago said. “The academy Cobra got its name because the owner used to play professional soccer in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico back in the 1980’s. In the 1980’s the professional team they had in Juarez used to be called Cobras but now it is called Indios.”
Parents have found benefits in the academies for their children. Sandra Espina, mother of Shondra Espina, who is 11 years old and plays with the CosmosFC academy, enrolled her daughter two years ago so that she could focus on the sport.
“I registered my daughter to play soccer so she can stay away from trouble and because I would like her to play professional soccer. Also, I think that any sport is like therapy. You relax and entertain yourself by playing,” Sandra Espina said.
Aside from the benefit for the parents, the academies inspire the girls to…