Home Field Advantage (HFA) has been part of MVSD’s after school offerings for two years, providing students with quality after school sports opportunities. HFA is a non-profit sports leadership program, that provides high school and college students with a coaching education and curriculum enabling them to coach after school sports programs at schools in their own neighborhoods.

FA’s mission is to create healthier, stronger, more active, and connected communities through sports leadership development. According to Sacha van der Most van Spijk, HFA’s Executive Director, since HFA’s inception in 2016, the program has developed homegrown leadership in the city of Downey, with young leaders gaining coaching experience under the guidance of mentor coaches during after school sports programming and eventually becoming mentor coaches themselves.

“Our current program coordinators are actually previous volunteer coaches who went through the full cycle to become mentor coaches and now run all of our organization’s programming,” said van der Most van Spijk. “Our goal is to duplicate that model in El Monte.”

HFA began in MVSD during the 2022-23 school year, with after school soccer programs for fourth and fifth graders at Parkview, Twin Lakes, and Monte Vista schools. Students participated in once-a-week training sessions and each school hosted a game day.
The program was well received by students, parents, coaches and school site staff members and the District decided to expand it for the 2023-24 school year.

Throughout the 2023-24 school year, HFA has run soccer, basketball, and tennis programs at all eight MVSD schools, providing coaching to help students build skills in each sport. Along with the weekly training and practice, game days are coordinated bringing the schools together to compete, which in turn brings the MVSD and El Monte community together.

“For the upcoming school year, we aim to implement local mentor coaches into our MVSD program,” said van der Most van Spijk. “These coaches will receive grassroots coaching education from the US Soccer Federation, the US Tennis Association, and USA Basketball. HFA will provide coaching curriculums, gear, and equipment to be well-prepared to provide the best after school sports environment. We are looking for El Monte (or surrounding cities) based candidates to apply for these paid positions. While working with local coaches, we also aim to attract high school students from El Monte interested in gaining leadership experience and developing into coaching positions,” he said.

During the 2024-25 school year, HFA programming will be expanded to MVSD’s middle school grades, and plans are also in progress to expand the sports offered to students.

“HFA is thankful to the Mountain View School District for the opportunity to continue our mission of helping develop healthier, stronger, more active, and connected communities,” said van der Most van Spijk. For more information on HFA visit https://www.hfa-sports.org To apply to be a volunteer or mentor coach visit https://www.hfa-sports.org/hiring

Story and photo courtesy of Mountain View School District