This week we’re hearing from Carlos Tayag in Unalaska. Tayag is the Teen and Leisure program coordinator for the city and moved to the island from Washington three years ago.
TAYAG: I’m the most likely to do anything fun on the island when it comes to leisure activities after school. So if a kid comes to me with some crazy idea like “Hey, we should go hike that hill,” or “We should play Dungeons and Dragons,” or “We should go play soccer outside cause it’s a really nice day,” or “We should just go over there and build snowmen and tackle them,” we will probably do that.
There’s probably a time every day where a person or kid comes up to me and asks me if I would like to play soccer. And the answer is always yes. That’s probably one of my most favorite things about working in that building: the ability to play pick-up soccer any time, any day.
Soccer’s becoming a sport here. I think we’ve done a lot of work in the last three years to bring soccer to the community. In three years, I think we’ve drastically improved the way that we play soccer on the island. ‘Cause, three-quarters of the year, we’re still playing indoors, so we’ve kind of adapted our indoor soccer to the U.S. standards for indoor soccer. And we also get to play outside in the summer, and it’s really fun and really nice. And I thnk interest has grown exponentially. There’s a ton of kids who now want to play soccer, and I thnk it’s becoming more popular than basketball, which is really exciting for me because when I got here they told me basketball was king on the island. And I thought, “We can change that.”
We’re working on putting together a soccer club that can travel throughout the state of Alaska. Kids can start playing on a statewide level and hopefully on a national level. One day we’ll get a kid from Unalaska to play in the World Cup. A real World Cup.