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September 2, 2009 > Alissia Lai teams up for youth

Alissia Lai teams up for youth

By Biff Jones

Team-Up for Youth (TUY) is a program that provides girls in low-income neighborhoods the opportunity to engage in sports. Some of these sports are traditional such as softball, basketball and soccer while other sports, like futsal and dragon boat racing, are lesser known.

These programs are located throughout California including, San Francisco, San Jose, the East Bay and the Peninsula. Some of TUY partners are California at Berkeley, Stanford and the California State Universities, such as Cal State East Bay.

Team-Up for Girls (TUG) project of Oakland was the 2009 United States winner of the Game Changers competition, Changing the Game for Women in Sport. Out of 405 entries from 50 countries, the U.S. Winner joins Let Us Play of Kenya and A Journey That Will Change Their Lives of Nepal as the high vote getters in the online competition.

Through its successful Coaching Corps, the TUG project is recruiting 750 new women coaches, many of them college students, over the next two years to lead girls sports teams in the low-income neighborhoods.

One of these current coaches is Alissia Lai who resides in the Mission San Jose District of Fremont. Lai will be a sophomore this fall at Santa Clara University where she expects to major in business or accounting information systems.

Lai coached a fifth- to eighth-grade (10-13 year olds), low-income girls soccer team at Monroe Middle School in San Jose this past spring. They primarily worked on skills and culminated with a four-team tournament at the end of the 10 weeks of training sessions. When Lai was about 13 years old she helped her father, Benjamina Lai, coach 10- to 11-year-old girls soccer teams in the FC Fremont Soccer League.

To become a Coaching Corps Coach you must be over 18 years of age, comfortable working with youth in low-income communities and participate in eight hours of TUY coach training plus additional on-site training.

Commitment is one season, spring, summer or fall (approximately 10 weeks), the eight hours of TUY training and 25-50 hours of on-site training. Coaching takes place weekday afternoons or early evenings and/or Saturdays.

Coaches receive Coaching Corps gear and academic credit for college students. Selected college students may apply to become Phillips Fellows and earn $2,000 while selected coaches can receive $250 writing stipends.

Not all coaches are college students as others are community members, college graduates and adults with full-time jobs and flexible work schedules.

For more information on becoming a coach at Team-Up for Youth, contact Monica Santos at or 510-663-9200 ext.118.

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