Coach Profile: Ethan Woon Brings E-Soccer to Alameda!

Ethan is currently in 11th grade at Alameda Science and Technology Institute (ASTI), an early college-prep magnet high school. He has received multiple academic achievements including the Academic Excellence Award and Honor Student Award. Also an avid athlete, Ethan plays multiple sports, including soccer, basketball, lacrosse, as well as martial arts, where he has excelled with a black belt certificate in Shaolin Kung-Fu. He has helped teach martial arts to children and worked as a soccer referee.

Since he was 6 years old, Ethan has been part of the Hayward E-Soccer program, now for 10 years. For his first five years, Ethan enjoyed participating in the program just as a player. But as he grew older, he wanted to take a more active role in E-Soccer by helping others and teaching them how to play soccer.

I saw how E-Soccer was teaching the special needs kids to take on their fears – from being afraid to leave their parents at first to being able to participate in an entire soccer session as they progressed.

Ethan saw the kids really supporting and encouraging each one another on the field. Wanting to give more to the program, he found that coaching was a great way to serve the group. He started out as a junior peer coach and, as opportunities arose, he stepped up to the position of assistant coach and then eventually became a head coach.

Spurred on to find more ways to help special needs kids with soccer, Ethan considered first starting an E-Soccer club at his high school. Next, he began looking for opportunities to start a new E-Soccer program himself in his home city of Alameda. Courageously, he decided to ask the Alameda Soccer Club Board, where he currently serves as a Player Representative, to sponsor a new Alameda E-Soccer program by loaning a field and all the equipment needed. The board agreed to Ethan’s proposal, and the new Alameda E-Soccer program launched in March 2016, serving 30 five through nine-year-old typical and special needs children.

Ethan sees the need growing for inclusive activities for kids with special needs, and he’s honored he helped put Alameda E-Soccer on the map.