Soccer Roster Blossoms in 2022 for Ánimo Inglewood and Ánimo Leadership’s Joint Team

Girl's Soccer

At Green Dot Public Schools California, our schools work together to build new opportunities for our students. For over 10 years, Ánimo Leadership Charter High School and Ánimo Inglewood Charter High School have upheld a sports partnership that has extended opportunities to hundreds of high school students across Lennox and Inglewood. 

Through this partnership, our schools established a joint girls’ soccer team, which competes in the CIF-Southern Section and promotes diversity in sports.

Team Leadership

Yennifer Baca, a class of 2009 Ánimo Leadership alumna, has served as head coach of the joint girls’ soccer team for the last four years. Baca played for the girls soccer team when she attended Animo Leadership and continued playing when she attended Santa Monica College and California State University, Dominguez Hills. A mother of three, Baca contributes her spare time to these students to encourage them along their path to success. 

“It’s been a great experience seeing players not just as athletes, but as students,” Baca said. “I think it’s amazing to see the girls and how much drive they have for the sport and their school. We just had a player with a 4.5 GPA this past semester, and things like this tell you that our students are not just focused on soccer, but they’re also focused on school.” 

The joint team also has a long history of competing in several scrimmages against other soccer teams across the city, including division one schools from Brentwood and Santa Monica. 

​​The soccer team, which is a fifty-fifty split of Ánimo Inglewood and Ánimo Leadership students, holds practices and plays games at Edward Vincent Jr. Park in Inglewood. Baca, who is pleased at all games the young athletes have played, is overwhelmed by the support of the parents of the students. 

“Our parents are pretty excited about the program and the opportunities that are opening up for their daughters, not just in sports, but in education,” Baca said. As a collegiate soccer player, Baca champions her students into using their athletic abilities to gain academic success. “I would love to see our players transfer out and get a scholarship, based on their skill—that’s one of the most important things in this.”

Building More Capacity

This year, the team has been focused on rebuilding as schools have begun to reopen for in-person instruction across the city. Before the pandemic, the team blossomed with a full roster of players, but when the team returned in the fall of 2021, there were only 12 remaining players on the team. More than half of the roster had graduated by the spring of 2021. 

In the fall of 2021, the joint soccer team hosted a series of tryouts at the beginning of the year, with over 80 students turning out to try and make the team. By the end of the tryouts, the team sported a full roster of 22 players. “This year there was so much talent, just raw talent,” Baca said after recalling the eager players who tried out for the team. “The girls are still young, and there’s still a lot of room for improvement. But I think in the future we’re definitely hoping to see a CIF title with these girls.”

Currently Ánimo Inglewood and Ánimo Leadership only have one varsity roster, but the schools are hoping to create a junior roster to capture more interested players throughout the school year. “We had so many girls come out, and I feel that everybody deserves an opportunity to play,” Baca said. “It’s about time that we have a junior varsity team for those girls that aren’t quite there for the varsity team.”

At Green Dot Public Schools, we build opportunities for students to be successful in college, leadership, and life. In athletic opportunities like soccer, our students are building the skills the balance academics, and to learn how to accomplish goals as a team. We look forward to supporting the joint girls’ soccer team at Ánimo Inglewood and Ánimo Leadership as they continue to build more athletic opportunities for all students.