ABGC’s Champions of Character

It’s been said, “Human greatness does not lie in wealth or power, but in character and goodness.” ABGC is proud to introduce you to two young players who’ve proven their character on the field, in the classroom and in their communities. Both were honored this week as Fairfax County 2019 Champions of Character.

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Nathan Albergottie, a 16-year-old junior at Falls Church High school, has participated in the ABGC soccer program for 12 years. He’s a team player first, who strives to help his teammates and classmates with group projects for school, volunteering in the community or on the soccer pitch. Nathan has also volunteered with the Rise Against Hunger organization within his church and has provided volunteer time in the ABGC office. He is a young man who finds opportunities to mentor younger athletes and inspires them to success. Nathan uses his experiences to enhance the lives of those around him, all while maintaining a 3.0 GPA.

Jennifer Soto fell in love with soccer when playing with ABGC in the third grade and continued to play in various recreational leagues throughout high school. As a recent graduate of Justice High School, Jennifer credits her love for mentoring young athletes to her time with ABGC. Jennifer began coaching her brother’s U10 team in 2017 and continues to do so today. Through that experience, Jennifer discovered her passion for coaching and working with athletes. Jennifer will undoubtedly continue to demonstrate her Champion of Character pedigree as she continues her education at George Mason University.

FFX Champions

 

ABGC’s Champions of Character

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So many wonderful people have passed through our doors at the Annandale Boys & Girls Club over the decades – parents, players, coaches and volunteers.  While they all deserve our thanks and gratitude for their commitment to Annandale’s youth, there is a special group that has earned extra kudos this year.  They are the 2016 Fairfax County Champions of Character.

We are so thrilled to have each of these honorees represent ABGC and want you to meet them too:

Parents: Daniele and Diana Albergottie

 It takes a lot of time, energy, patience and love to be the parent of a youth athlete these days.  Daniele and Diana Albergottie have all of that times 4! They’ve volunteered, coached, and been program commissioners during the many years their four sons participated in ABGC athletics. Diana even played at ABGC in her youth, in both the “house” and travel league programs.  Here is a brief excerpt from their nomination letter:

“Daniele and Diana raised four sons, the oldest now 22 years old in college and the youngest is 13 years old playing on an ABGC U16 Boys Team. All of the kids exhibit the same respect to all persons, regardless of their gender, race, or religion. They began coaching or assisting with soccer teams 17 years ago, and have been active in the soccer teams of all their sons. In addition to coaching or administrative duties, they have also insured that all the players had rides to games and exhibited good conduct. Both Daniele & Diana have stated to their teams to always be respectful, play a “clean game”, and that they would rather forfeit a game than play, if they thought the team was exhibiting poor sportsmanship.

 In addition to coaching or administrating multiple teams, Daniele and Diana volunteered with ABGC whenever anything was needed. They would ref, help with end of season soccer festivals, stuff “goodie bags” for soccer festivals, serve at the ABGC office to translate to individuals that speak Spanish, and even help move “stuff” when the ABGC office moved to its Annandale Rd. location. They are always friendly and welcoming to everyone. In short, they have provided invaluable service to ABGC.”

Coach: Khaled Fayyad

For many parents, turning their young athletes over to the hands of a youth coach they’ve probably never even met can be a difficult experience.  Is the coach a “screamer”? Will he/she nurture the athletes’ love for the sport or scare them away?  The fact that 70% of kids quit youth sports by the age of 13 shows there is a lot of work to be done to improve the youth experience…and coaches are a key component.  At ABGC we are so proud of our coaches and Khaled Fayyed’s selection as a Champion of Character just tells the world what we here at Annandale, already know.  Coaches like Coach K make a difference in the lives of so many young players.

“Coach K changed the way that I, as a skeptical parent, view travel soccer.  He changed the way my daughter views the game of soccer.  And, in a broader sense, he changed the way an entire team of 13-year-old girls view the world.  Yes, Coach K has had that much positive impact on all of our lives.  For Coach K, the goal was never to win.  “If you play to the best of your abilities, winning will take care of itself,” he repeatedly reminded the girls.  He was right, of course. 

 Perhaps the essence of who Coach K is, is most indicative by what he represents above all else: good sportsmanship.  But don’t just take my word for it.  Ask the players and coaches from the other teams, who the past two years in a row nominated and awarded Coach K and his United team the “ODSL Travel Soccer Randy Rawls Sportsmanship Award.”  This kind of thing doesn’t happen by accident two years in a row.  This is a coach who, uniquely, gets the essence of what it means to be a kind coach.  Above all else, Coach K stressed the moral and ethical part of playing hard — never dirty. 

 To be quite honest, Coach K probably spends as much time talking to the girls about the “right” things to do in life as he did talking to them about soccer. He reminded the girls that whatever they do — and wherever they go — the most important thing in life is to always be kind.  Coach K lives by these very words.  And it got me to thinking what the “K” in Coach K’s last name really stands for:  Kindness.”

Player: Virginia Miller

 Team Captain

Annandale United FC Pride U14 Girls NPL/EDP Soccer Team

Between school, clubs, athletics, family and community, our young athletes have very full lives, indeed.  Yet so many, like Annandale’s Virginia Miller, greet each challenge with grace and enthusiasm.  Congratulations to Virginia for her leadership both on and off the soccer field.

“Virginia is not only the team captain for the Annandale United FC Pride soccer team, however she is youth leader in the community.  Over the past two years with AUFC she has demonstrated leadership on and off the field with exemplary unselfishness.  Even with the stress of leading a top ten state ranked soccer team, she finds time to support those in need. Virginia constantly strives to help others through her volunteer efforts and empowering others to join the cause.  She is integral part of the AUFC Pride’s annual food drive events, ‘Kicks for Cans’ and ‘Strive for Five’. She works tirelessly as an on-field mentor, before her own practices, building inspiration and love for the game for younger soccer enthusiasts.

 Most impressively, Virginia recently took it upon herself and initiated the ‘Kelly Strong’ childhood cancer awareness and support effort in Annandale.  Leading her teammates with passionate motivation, she launched an awareness effort to help fight childhood cancer. With a heavy heart she and her teammates energetically played with ‘Kelly Strong’ bands to support her best friend and fellow soccer enthusiast during her ongoing battle with cancer. Virginia is not only an exceptional soccer athlete; she is model young citizen for our community. I eagerly anticipate her continual development as strong leader and model for other young women. She is truly a Champion of Character.”

Player: Bryan Zambrana

 Team Captain

Annandale United U18 Boys 1999 Travel Soccer Team

 Bryan Zambrana has played soccer for 7 years. In addition to being a standout player and captain of the Annandale U18 boys travel soccer team, Bryan has gone out of his way to share his love of the sport with younger players.  Not satisfied with just improving his own play, Bryan also helps at practices with Annandale’s younger teams, serving as a role model and mentor.  Bryan is a senior at Annandale High School. Here is what Bryan’s coaches say about his leadership:

“Bryan has been with the club since he was a young boy, and developed into a fine young man.  He was a shy lad who has grown into a determined captain and leader.  Bryan often attends other teams’ practices to improve and stays late to work on skills and fitness.

 Bryan is a central midfielder who holds the ball up well and is the start of a solid attack, playing one and two touch. He is very coachable and has also become a coach and mentor to younger players in the club, often arriving early at practice to work with younger players.

Bryan will graduate this year from Annandale HS and is currently looking at playing overseas in Spain or collegiately in Virginia.”

Bryan’s positive attitude, leadership, love of the sport and commitment to his team are just a few of the reasons, we’re so proud he’s been chosen as a Fairfax County Champion of Character.

The Fairfax County Champions of Character ceremony will be held October 25th at 6 pm at the Fairfax County Government Center and ABGC can’t wait to celebrate all of our winners.