It’s during times of tragedy that you see the very best in people.
El Paso Locomotive midfielder, Sebastian Velasquez, stepped up to help a girls soccer team that was affected by the shooting at the El Paso Walmart.
Velasquez says he couldn’t believe the news that there had been a mass shooting in El Paso.
“You just didn’t know what to think,” Velasquez said. “It kind of caught me off guard, and I was shocked.”
The news became even more difficult to take in for Velasquez when he learned a girls soccer team was fundraising outside the Walmart at the time of the shooting.
Two coaches and some girls’ parents were wounded.
Velasquez is from Colombia and started playing soccer when he was child, so he easily sympathized with the girls on the soccer team.
“That really hit close to home,” Velasquez said. “It really hit me in my heart because we’ve all gone through that and that could have easily been one of us or me, and I don’t want my kids to grow up in this type of environment.”
Velasquez wanted to help, and he ended up taking charge of a Go-Fund me account to help raise money for the team and the victims.
With Velasquez’s connections and spreading the word through social media, the account raised more than $30,000 in just 12 days.
“For me I just wanted to take a little different direction and make a different choice and I wanted to help,” Velasquez said. “I’ve created a relationship with these incredible kids for the rest of my life and that’s going to be awesome.”
Saturday, the girls from the soccer team accompanied the Locomotive players onto the field before a game.
People in the crowd held flags that read, ‘El Paso Strong’ a message that blanketed the team with love.
“We knew that this was the golden moment to seize and to kind of bring out some light in this tragedy,” Velasquez said.
And the Locomotive shined the light bright on that Saturday, scoring a 2-0 victory over the Tacoma Defiance.
The power of sports, once again a healer in the darkest of times.
“You’re playing a sport that impacts their life that they are so passionate about, to come out and get the win, it’s just the icing on the cake and it was just a perfect night,” Velasquez said.