#227 César Carrillo2018-10-03T16:01:14-04:00

Project Description

SAVED BY A SOCCER BALL

#227 César Carrillo

“I’ve had bad times, but thank God soccer has taken me out of it all”

Chepina Hernandez/ Julio Suárez

Saymary Silva

Odri Albornoz

Petare, Caracas

I was born in Caracas. My parents didn’t want to have me so, at five, I moved in with my grandpa, in Guárico. My great-grandmother raised me until she couldn’t anymore. She’s 98 years-old. and I came back to Caracas a year ago. It wasn’t easy; my dad threw me out of the house and I had to go with my mom.

She lives in a horrible barrio, and I had a very bad time, there were days in which I didn’t eat, lost until I went to the Mesuca Polideportivo. There I met my teammates, who now are my brothers, and my coach, Máximo, an amazing person. He supported me then, and now.

I’ve played soccer since I was a little boy, it’s my passion. My great-grandmother always took me to the soccer field, telling me I had to follow my dreams and give them my very best. At seven, we won a final with penalties. I was the last to kick and my grandma gushed over the goal I scored, she cried, hugged me and that night she threw a party at home. I’ll never forget that moment, ever.

One of my teammates helped me and I moved in with his family, the school principal later adopted me for five months. He had to leave due to an emergency, but I had to go back to my mother’s, starving again.

Soccer keeps me out of the bad way; people commit robberies very often where I live. When I see people I love acting like that, it hits me. I don’t blame them because they don’t have parents to tell them what’s right. Gangsters have offered me their path many times, but I always refuse because I don’t want to ruin my life. I’m too talented to waste it with guns.

There was a time when I weighed forty kilos. My coach helped a lot. I admire him, he cheers me up, he always gives me the best advice and even helps me to stay humble. You’ve got to be humble to play soccer, as it’s too beautiful to spoil it by being arrogant.

When I step on the field, my mind clears out. It’s my life, my home and now I’m playing for the Petare Football Club. Teachers see my talent and I want to keep improving as a person and soccer player. What’s the point of being a good player if I’m a bad person?.

I spent a lot of time alone, so the principal’s sister took me to her house, where I now live. She gives me everything she can, she buys me clothes and makes sure I’m clean. I have no idea where I would be if it wasn’t for her.

It’s hard for me to speak about this, but I have to. I made a huge effort in soccer; I was a right-back for the Mesuca team, earning a place with my own tears and sweat. I’ve had bad times, but thank God soccer has taken me out of it all.

If you put a homeless child into sports, his mind won’t be in danger because he has a goal.

I want to go on in soccer and my studies. My will is so big that I have to get up at three in the morning to come from La Guaira to Caracas, get in school at seven, then get off and go to soccer training. At four and a half, I’m going back to La Guaira. My average grade right now is 18,5.

I’d love to major in Law. Justice is a value that takes everybody into stability. If you believe something’s right, you have to do it and say it, or you’re liar. Truth goes together with justice.

My biggest support has been my grandma. She’s very special to me. Every day, she’d tell me a different saying; ‘spices are good but, not too much’ and whenever I do something that gets her angry, she says ‘Raise crows and they’ll peck your eyes out.’

When I was hungry and lonely, books helped a lot. I’d borrow them from Petare’s Library; the first I read was A Great Champion. I read Moby Dick, The Mummy and The Three Musketeers, where I identified with my two best friends, we’re inseparable. One is the team captain, and the other has always helped me with his family, way too much.

I’d like to be like Luka Modrić. When he was little, he was in the Croatian Wars and even spent day and night in a parking lot playing with a bladder ball. Look at him now, he plays for the Real Madrid, one of the best midfielders in the world. Everyone focuses on Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, but they don’t see the players that assist them, the ones that make them famous.

To me, happiness is constantly in our thoughts and way of being. Anything makes me glad. A month ago, I was given a new pair of shoes because mine was terrible; I was so glad because I know they’re giving me tools to move forward. I’ll fight for my future, my mates and myself.

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