Young man uses soccer to help troubled teens


Highland Park Commons is a place where people from all over come to hang out.

"It's beautiful to see the diversity here," Jose Ramirez said.

Ramirez says it was a place to find friends when he first moved here to go to college.

"Just trying to find where it was I could connect and soccer was a big impact to that," he said.

Jose says soccer has always been a part of his life.

So naturally, he wanted something similar when he moved here.

"It didn't take much time at all," Jose said.

Now, Jose works at Highland Park Commons.

"I kind of run the day to day operations," he said.

A home away from home., he says.

It was a place that helped him find that sense of family.

Now, he wants others to have the same experience.

The soccer field is located in an area plagued by crime and poverty.

He wants it to be an escape.

"One word I would describe it as is a safe haven for everyone," he said.

It's not just for troubled teens. It's a place for everyone.

"You have Bosnians, Haitians. You have guys from the Middle East, Guatemala, Honduras," he explained.

Players who may not even be able to communicate.

"Everyone, every language speaks the language of soccer," he said.

But still share a love of the game.

"We don't know each other outside these walls or these fences but we know each other through soccer," Jose said.

Jose says the organization partners with non-profits to help anyone who plays there and has a need whether that's income, troubles at home, or just needs to talk with someone.