Since the age of ten, Leland Hsu has been spending his Saturdays volunteering at the E-Soccer located in Foster City. E-Soccer is a soccer program focused less on the performance aspect of soccer, and focused more on teamwork, sportsmanship and inclusion. E-Soccer emphasizes the importance of including everyone, regardless of their talent or capabilities, especially pertaining to children with special needs, like Autism, ADHD, and Down Syndrome.
E-Soccer’s mission to spread inclusion has not only helped children with disabilities and challenges, but has taught other people such as Leland about why it is important to prioritize inclusion in local communities. Through E-Soccer, Leland became someone who withdrew from others into somebody who learned to see the needs in others and reach out.
“I started in 5th grade I think. I joined as a kid who played soccer and after a year, I started helping out with the coaches. It changed me to someone who didn’t wanna come out and get involved, into someone who wants to care for others, be outside and help others understand this is an issue. That we need to get inclusion with everybody.”
Leland always comes to E-Soccer with a positive and kid-focused attitude. His playful and upbeat personality has touched many kids, who are excited to play soccer with him every week.
“All the kids are excited when they come out and they like to tease me. They mock me in a friendly way and chase after me. They laugh and all join together to try to beat me in games and activities that we do. I guess that builds good team communication.”
Leland’s lightheartedness and sense of humor not only encourages the children participating, but the other coaches who work with him. The drive to socially include and engage others has also helped him outside of the E-Soccer, such as at school.
“If I see people at my school I try to include them no matter who they are. I’ll try to bring them into the activity and try to get them involved in whatever we’re doing in class or just like even hanging out with them after school or like during break.”
Inclusion is a critical part of ensuring that everyone in our community feels welcome and safe. Leland will continue to look out for those who need inclusion as he goes to Purdue University this fall.