Alameda County Deputy Sheriffs' Activities League / Sheriffs Fútbol Club, Soccer, California
Double-Goal Coach Award Winner
Omar Cervantes, Soccer Coach at Alameda County Deputy Sheriffs' Activities League has won Positive Coaching Alliance’s coveted National Double-Goal Coach® Award presented by TeamSnap for his positive impact on youth sports.
Cervantes is one of 50 national recipients of the Double-Goal Coach award, named for coaches who strive to win while also pursuing the more important goal of teaching life lessons through sports. The award includes a $200 prize, a certificate, and mention within the websites and newsletters of Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA), a national non-profit developing Better Athletes, Better People through youth and high school sports. In addition, Cervantes is one of four coaches who won an all expense paid trip to San Jose to be recognized at their 18th Annual National Youth Sports Awards Dinner and Benefit sponsored by Deloitte being held at the Leavey Center on the campus of Santa Clara University. He will participate in a panel discussion on stage with emcee for the evening, Mike Tirico of NBC Sports Broadcasting,
“Coach Cervantes helps athletes win in and out of sports,” said Tina Syer, President of Positive Coaching Alliance. “By creating a positive, character-building youth sports experience and serving as a Double-Goal Coach, Omar helps youth develop into better athletes and better people.”
The Deputy Sheriffs' Activities League (DSAL) was created to unite the Sheriff’s Office personnel and the citizens and youth of Alameda County after realizing that there were very few positive options for recreation or activities for kids after school. As they connected with youth and families, they realized the need to address deeper issues, like unemployment, lack of investment in the unincorporated areas, and social and political disconnection. Cervantes brought the perfect approach to coaching for the needs of DSAL.
Cervantes’ number one goal is to use soccer as a catalyst for positive change in the community. The Athletic Director for the league shared that Cervantes came from the pay-to-play realm and entered the free-to-play world at DSAL where he “applied a feverish dedication to creating a level of quality of play for these youth that those paying thousands of dollars would receive. He is determined to level the playing field (literally) so that youth living in these types of circumstances have the same opportunities to access the game and the benefits of the game that those with resources have”.
The approach that Cervantes brings is one of creating an environment on his teams where players feel the freedom to express themselves, experiment, and take risks in their play. He focuses on the learning of the players, not the results on the scoreboard and allows them to take the reigns to their own success. His nominator shared that he “recently watched Omar moderate (not lecture) a team chalk talk where in 30 minutes he probably spoke less than 5 minutes. The other 25 minutes were taken up by our 11 & 12-year-old teams developing their own tactical solutions and plans for upcoming games. The learning was put in their hands and not dictated to them.” It is this trust in the players that in turn creates confidence, accountability, and courage in them.
Taking his approach to creating a positive impact on his community a step further, Cervantes spends time connecting to all of the parents and connecting them to one another. In a community where neighbors historically stay in their homes and don’t get to know one another, he has helped create a networked community where people are getting to know one another, care about each other’s children and support each other beyond the field.
The impact that Cervantes has on his players, league, and community is unmatched. Best stated by a reference for his nomination, “He is transforming the lives of every young person who is fortunate enough to come into contact with him. Through soccer, he is providing these kids with tools to succeed in life and offering them a window into the opportunities that await them outside of their communities.”