James Vallesillo is not only passionate about the sport of soccer, but also how it connects parents and their kids. He is this week’s Acts of Kindness winner.
Every Saturday morning, you’ll find Coach Vallesillo on the field, running drills with beginning and more experienced soccer players.
“I’ve been playing soccer since I was three,” he said. “I’ve got three boys out here that play as well. It felt right to do something back for the community.”
After completing his military service, Coach Vallesillo wanted to build upon some of the principles he learned from that experience, one of them being soccer is a family sport.
“We are at Aliante Discovery Park. If you show up, you’re going to play. If you’re a parent, don’t show up in flip-flops,” he said.
That’s because he expects parents to get involved.
“When you look at every parent, they’re not looking at their cell phones for work. They’re not focused on an e-mail. Their eyes right with their kids,” he said.
“We don’t just come here and sit down on the chairs and watch the kids. He gets us up out of the chairs to come out there and do some one on one time with our children,” said parent Keith Thomas.
The co-ed northwest Las Vegas soccer program started in 2013, teaching kids the fundamentals of soccer while having fun.
A family league that began with 100 kids now includes more than 500.
“He’s a really good coach, and he creates new drills,” said one player.
“Losing is a humbling experience, and winning builds confidence, but you need a little bit of both,” Vallesillo said.
The program is free. Coach James volunteers his skills and his time, saving these families hundreds of dollars.
“A sport shouldn’t cost money, and the only effort that is put in is the effort that you are willing to give it,” he said.
Autistic and disabled players are encouraged to attend as well. The games are played Saturdays at Aliante Discovery Park in North Las Vegas.