When I was born, there were complications. My mother told me it was serious; it was my life or my mom’s. We got through it. It was a tough start, but despite the complications, I grew healthy.  

I strongly believe that sport creates healthier relationships on the field and in the community. On a mental level, sport distracts from anxiety and supports calm. 

My name is Carlos Jesus Ponce Gómez, I am 21 years old. I was born and live in Valle de Chalco Solidaridad. I am proud to be a Community Coach for Natlik.

I grew up in a neighborhood called Xico 2nd section. Football is an escape for our community, especially for children. Our community has a great sports culture based on physical improvement through activity.

Football is very popular, and it’s something I have always enjoyed. I remember going to the sports hall with my father, and slowly, over the years, I have improved. At times, it has been challenging; I have had to deal with injuries, which have prevented me from maintaining my levels.

I am a community coach in Telesecundaria, and there, I train children from 12 to 15 years of age. I have four groups where two groups are divided per day, Wednesday and Thursday.

Football is more than a sport of 22 players behind the ball; it is a feeling, a passion. It’s wonderful to see how boys and girls have such passion for the game, camaraderie, and teamwork. 

I enjoy coaching with Natlik because of the environment and their approach to working with the kids. More than a workplace, Natlik helps you see things differently, physically and mentally.  

A typical training day is arriving at school at 9 am, welcoming the students, coordinating certain things with the teacher of the group, and then setting up the court with the equipment that will be used; all that has to be ready before 10 am.

When the students arrive, we have an ice-breaker and talk a little about their classes and school things; after that, I give the session’s central theme. We discuss the dynamics of the game and the objectives to be met; the activity usually lasts 35 or 40 minutes. The remaining time is to play a football game, which everyone loves, and I even join in.

Natlik is a home, a safe place where you feel and believe you can achieve anything as long as you commit to your goal. My coaching style is to be fun, supportive, and professional. It’s important that we have small moments where we make a joke of the activity and we embrace fellowship. 

Fortunately, my sessions are very popular with the students. I also like to find new ways of teaching topics, and the most satisfying thing is that at the end of each activity or each football game, the participants are smiling and reflective.

It inspires me to see my students develop, I have one student called Brandon who has had some weight issues, and some people have doubted him on first impressions. However, Brandon has excelled at football despite being a beginner; he has a strong spirit and gives everything to the game. This spirit is an inspiration and a good vibe for our team. 

To kids everywhere learning football, I urge you not to stop pursuing that dream of playing, try as many times as necessary, and train.

There is one quote that has inspired me: “Success in life is not measured by what you achieve but by the obstacles you overcome.” – Laureano Gallardo

Football inspires me, and of course, Lionel Messi is a top inspiration in the global football community. Despite the financial difficulties he had as a child, he conquered the world of football, and above all, he demonstrates humility despite being the GOAT (greatest of all time).  

Football doesn’t only demonstrate success; I always remember Roberto Baggio being cataloged as “the man who died on his feet” after he missed a penalty in the FIFA World Cup Final when Italy played Brazil in USA 94’. We all face moments of failure, and it’s how you recover and move on from them. 

Values are at the heart of who I am; I am honest and loyal and believe in solidarity. I listen and support where I can. Goals are important to me on and off the field; I aim to finish my law school degree and continue working on what I’m passionate about: football. 

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Voices From Xico is part of a storytelling curriculum featuring nine community Coaches committed to the power of sport. The Coaches are part of the Natlik organization; their partners include love.fútbolCityzens Giving (Manchester City), Xylem, Disney, Coaches Across Continents.