AmeriCorps Coach Tayo

  1. Updates


Playworks soccer season had begun and once again I found myself surrounded by the hyper and enthusiastic spirits of the young girls from Brunson Lee. Each one of their beaming personalities never allowed a dull moment, and I love them for that.

This season, we added a new teammate to the melting pot of free-spirited students. Her name was Makayla. Makayla was different from the others – she was quiet and pragmatic. While the others were always jumping for joy because they were given the opportunity to be a part of a team and play with their friends, Makayla’s demeanor was more serious.

There was a specific afternoon in which I found it nearly impossible to hold the girls’ attention during practice, so I dismissed them to play on the playground in hopes that it would dispel their restlessness. It was that same afternoon that I was confronted by Makayla. She didn’t run off to play with her teammates on the playground, and when I asked her why, she told me that she wanted to spend some more time with me practicing soccer. I was elated – not only did this student want to learn, but she wanted to learn from me.

As practice came to an end and everyone packed up to go home, I was once again approached by Makayla. “Coach Tayo” she said in a soft tone, “Can I practice some more, please?” My first instinct was to say no because I didn’t want her to be late for pick up, but as I looked into the stands I saw her grandmother sitting there, signaling to me that it was fine for her to stay longer.

The more we practiced that evening, the more I began to see something in Makayla that I had not seen in my other students before—determination. With each mistake she made, she was determined to find a solution to correct it. As we were wrapping up, Makayla filled me in on a little secret, “Coach Tayo, I’ve never played soccer before. I’ve never played in a real soccer game.” The sudden lack of confidence despite her dedication to improve surprised me. I knew that I needed to encourage her and be her cheerleader. I explained to Makayla that it was important that she keep trying no matter the outcome, that she is showing improvements despite what she sees. Finally, she cracked a smile. In that moment, I knew she trusted me to make her better. I felt like I actually had the ability to make someone’s dream a reality. I was truly a coach!




More Updates

May 19, 2022

First Ever Arizona State Capitol Rock, Paper, Scissors Tournament! ›

Fun lunch time getaway had by all who joined Playworks for a game of rock, paper, scissors at the Arizona State Capitol on May 16, 2022. “The Grand Canyon State modeled true bipartisan leadership this week thru a lively round of Rock Paper Scissors at the State Capitol,” Playworks Arizona Advisory Board Member Emily Anne…

May 16, 2022

Rock Paper Scissors Tournament at the Arizona State Capitol ›

PRESS RELEASE WHAT: Get ready to play in a Rock Paper Scissors Tournament at a free, live event at the Arizona State Capitol on Monday, May 16th from 12:00 p.m. – 12:30 p.m. at Rose Garden, 1700 W Washington St. Phoenix, AX 85007. When you play in this tournament, you’ll be joining Playworks community members–kids…

March 30, 2022

Thunderbirds Charities Supporting Safe Return to Play in Arizona ›

PRESS RELEASE Thunderbirds Charities announces its support of the relaunch of Playworks’ TeamUp program in Title 1 schools in Arizona and further innovation of the Playworks Pro training programs, professional development programs for adults who work with kids. Together, these organizations will support kids transitioning to schools and recess safely from the COVID-19 pandemic. This…