Bringing healthy soccer to underprivileged areas

How one PV senior is helping underprivileged Ecuadorian youth


Arianna Quevedo

From right to left, Yuri Quevedo, Theo Morris, Justin Trugman, Alexandra Quevedo, Arianna Quevedo, Mrs. Quevedo, Urlín Canga, Emilio Quevedo, Jack Ottomanelli, and Urlín Canga.

Robyn Roznitsky, Staff Writer

Suppose you play soccer. But then you scrape your knee and get an infection. Or maybe you’re pushed one day and break a limb. Or maybe  you’re heading a ball and you get a concussion. If no one has the proper training and equipment to help you, you’re forced to give up, sometimes for months, sometimes for year, sometimes for life.

These are just a few of the shortcomings that Pascack Valley senior and President of the Executive Class Council Emilio Quevedo observed in the extremely impoverished community of Esmeraldas, Ecuador.

“I realized that there are so many good kids there with so much potential that just don’t have the proper equipment, especially health wise,” said Emilio Quevedo.

“I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who helped me collect donations. I am super thankful for the donations from the PV community…””

— Emilio Quevedo

Three years ago, Quevedo visited Ecuador over the summer to train for soccer. He went on the trip with his father, Yuri Quevedo, his sister, sophomore Arianna Quevedo, and PV alumni Theo Morris and Jack Ottomanelli, who were Emilio Quevedo’s teammates on the PV soccer team. It was then, in 2013, that Emilio Quevedo was inspired to create his organization, Fútbol Sano, which means healthy, or safe, soccer.

“We’re here complaining about how we haven’t had a new pair of shoes in six months while these kids were stuck wearing two different types of shoes,” said Arianna Quevedo. “This organization was about giving back. We were playing soccer with these kids and they were teaching us what they know and the least that we can do is get them the medical supplies that they need to stay healthy.”

Urlín Canga, an Ecuadorian coach and associate of Yuri Quevedo, who used to play soccer professionally in Ecuador, helped Emilio Quevedo find an organization that they could centralize Fútbol Sano around. The Quevedos went about doing so by collecting supplies and donating them to Canga’s club.

All throughout the three weeks before their departure this past summer, the Quevedos had a cardboard box placed outside their front door. Emilio Quevedo promoted Fútbol Sano and his venture to collect donations through his Instagram, the Goal Club—a PV soccer organization—and through his mom’s Facebook account.

As a result of this generous undertaking by the PV community, the Quevedos were able to donate $250 for freshwater as well as a supply of bandages, sports wraps, braces, Sports Expert tape, and crutches.

“I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who helped me collect donations,” said Emilio Quevedo. “I am super thankful for the donations from the PV community, for all the kids who told their parents and for their parents, who took the initiative to purchase supplies for my cause.”

Emilio Quevedo had the privilege of meeting the players that belonged to Canga’s club in person when he gave them the donations that he had collected.

Emilio Quevedo shaking hands with the owner of the club that he donated supplies to on his first visit, Dušan Drašković.
Emilio Quevedo shaking hands with the owner of the club that he donated supplies to on his first visit, Dušan Drašković.

“The older kids were grateful for the younger kids,” said Emilio Quevedo. “They understood that if they had had these supplies when they were younger, it would have been amazing. They were very happy that the next generation had these supplies, at least at that particular club. And the younger kids were just happy that they were getting presents.”

However, Emilio Quevedo received the most gratitude from the coaches, who had watched their players suffer whenever they got injured and weren’t able to properly treat them.

Emilio Quevedo returned to Ecuador again this past summer, from July 5 – August 5, with his sister and his father. During this past visit, the Quevedos donated to a different club, participated in soccer training, and visited their aunt and cousins in Guayaquil and Manta, Ecuador. Additionally, the Quevedos took a four day trip to Quito, Ecuador.

This year, Emilio Quevedo was able to donate 13 soft soccer balls, a necessity since the club had only two or three soccer balls for 15 kids.

Since the Quevedos were unable to deliver the donations in person, one of the coaches drove from Esmeraldas to Guayaquil.

“The coach was even more grateful than the year before because they had nothing,” said Emilio Quevedo. “He was close to crying.”

Emilio Quevedo hopes to be able to go back to Ecuador in the future and donate once again to soccer players in need. However, since he is going to college next year and may be unable to make the trip, Emilio Quevedo still hopes to be able to raise donations to give to his sister, who may take over Fútbol Sano, to take to Ecuador in his place.