Morales combines love of soccer, community at Project Goal
NORTH PROVIDENCE – Moises Morales, a junior at La Salle Academy and lifelong North Providence resident, shares his love of soccer with the community at Project Goal, where staff say he’s made a significant impact.
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Project Goal is a Rhode Island-based nonprofit organization providing students of all socioeconomic backgrounds with academic support and the opportunity to be part of a sports team. Twice each week, students meet after school for three hours. The first hour and a half is dedicated to school work and academics, followed by an hour and a half of soccer. The program is free, and everything from t-shirts to shin guards are donated.
Morales was a student at Project Goal in Providence for grades 2-6, and now he volunteers as a coach. He has volunteered in soccer tournaments such as Mundialito in Central Falls.
Some of his fondest memories growing up were playing in tournaments put on by Project Goal, and getting to know the coaches in the program as mentors, he said.
Morales said he knew that when he was old enough, he wanted to become a coach and be a positive role model for younger kids, just like his coaches were for him.
“All of the coaches, staff and teachers I had at Project Goal had a huge influence on who I am today,” he said.
He noted how important it is for all young people to have role models who look like them and are from similar cultural backgrounds. As someone who is bilingual and bicultural, he said he is able to “relate to the students and offer them an example that is authentic.”
The impact Morales has had on the Project Goal community has not gone unnoticed, with Julie Slater, assistant principal at Alfred Lima Elementary School in Providence, describing Morales as “a kind and humble person who has shown up for our students in so many ways.”
Slater said she witnessed Morales coach during a game and observed him cheering on players and checking in on them and helping them to calm their nerves.
Javier Centeno of Project Goal said he even had a student who dropped out of the program come back and ask specifically to be coached by Morales.
Morales said his favorite part of being a coach is getting to witness the progress of the Project Goal students.
“I’m seeing them develop from how they were just a few months ago to now,” he said. “They’re learning so much, not only in the classroom, but on the field.”
He added, “My experiences with Project Goal inspired me to give back to that community. Soccer is my passion and to spread that to a new generation of soccer players is a good feeling.”
Morales won All New England, All State, and All Division for boys varsity soccer.