Our Roth Everyday Hero: Vanessa Santana

Humble. Patient. Dedicated. Inspiring. These are just some of the words people have used to describe Vanessa during the Roth Heroes nomination process. During her free time, she volunteers to coach not one, but two soccer teams!

The first team is an American Youth Soccer Organization VIP team, a soccer league for children with special needs. The VIP team is meant to provide a safe and fun environment where those who can’t engage in traditional soccer leagues can still enjoy the game. It provides an opportunity to build self-esteem and make new friends—all thanks to dedicated volunteers like Vanessa.

The second group she coaches is a team of girls around twelve or thirteen years old. As we all likely know, those pre- and early-teen years can be particularly challenging. Vanessa uses her role as coach to teach the girls valuable skills they can use on and off the field. She teaches them about teamwork, conflict resolution, providing constructive feedback, and the importance of building each other up.

Vanessa’s coaching truly goes beyond goal-scoring. During her free time, you can often find her journaling back-and-forth with her players.

“I am in awe of her commitment to these kids, despite difficult parents, despite not getting paid, despite being tired from a long day of work and going to practice for two hours,” said Sarah Bader, Director of Talent Engagement.

Not only does Vanessa volunteer to coach soccer for so many great children, but she is an incredible role model whose dedication is truly awe-inspiring. We couldn’t be any prouder to name her one of our 2018 Roth Everyday Heroes.