For the past 11 years, JoAnn DeLeon and her husband Miguel have coached local soccer teams.
JoAnn, purchasing assistant at Mid-States Concrete Industries, and her husband got involved when their son Miguel’s coach was unable to continue coaching his team. Though she had played a bit of soccer growing up and was an avid fan of watching the sport, JoAnn and her husband purchased numerous books to learn all the rules and really get to know the game. JoAnn took up soccer again at 21-years-old and just stopped playing last year.
The DeLeons spent four years coaching at the school before their son Miguel started playing in the International Soccer League of Rockford and they began coaching a U13 team there. Now that they are part of the ISLR, soccer has become a year-round sport with just three weeks off in September and three weeks off in March, providing a short break from the outdoor to indoor season and then the indoor season to the outdoor season.
Each session requires a new uniform, and for the indoor season, rental fees for indoor practice space. It’s about $90 per hour to rent the practice space and the team practices two evenings each week.
Depending on the cost of uniforms and number of indoor practices, a season can cost each player $350 to $500. Unfortunately, not all of the players can afford to pay the full amount, so the DeLeons end up picking up the balance, roughly $500 each year.
But despite all the time and money the DeLeons put into their team, they wouldn’t have it any other way. JoAnn enjoys “really just knowing that the kids are staying out of trouble.”
The couple also hosts an annual Christmas party and organizes a secret Santa gift exchange among the kids, as well as a team picnic at the end of the summer season.
The couple have six children of their own: Janina, 22, Amparo, 19, Luis, 17, Miguel, 13, Jose, 11, and Alesandra, 8. In addition to soccer, some of the kids also take dance classes and are involved in other activities, making for a very busy schedule in the DeLeon house. The family does make time to attend church and spend time together on Sundays.
Through her experiences coaching, JoAnn has come to value things more. After all, she has seen just how fortunate she is and is happy to help those less fortunate than her family.
Good luck to the team!