Webb soccer coach raises funds for Senegalese girls

by Andrew Alonzo | aalonzo@claremont-courier.com

On March 25, about 80 soccer players from around Southern California competed in a seven-a-side tournament with international benefits.

The first Girls Kick Tournament, organized by Girls Kick founder and Webb Schools girls varsity soccer coach Malick Mbengue, was held at Webb’s Faculty Field with eight teams, four adult and four youth, battling to become premier league and LaLiga champions.

Webb senior Daniel Hu (facing camera) hugs goalkeeper Lam Tran after Tran made a clutch save during a charity soccer game on Saturday. Courier photo/Andrew Alonzo

Youth players consisted of 10- and 11-year-old girls teams from Los Angeles Soccer Club’s Galarsa and Southern California Elite Football Club programs. Webb students (coed Webb Varsity), Mbengue’s friends (Girls Kick) and adults from across Southern California made up the adult teams.

After normal and extra time didn’t produce a winner, the coed Webb varsity team beat TSFC on penalties, 3-2, for the premier league crown. Galarsa took the LaLiga final over SoCal Elite. The day was capped with a trophy ceremony for each champion.

Mbengue said the tourney raised about $2,500 for soccer and school supplies for Girls Kick. The organization is in Mbengue’s home country of Senegal and has been assisting youth girls with education and soccer training since 2021.

The foundation is “kind of a way of giving back to a community that I am from,” Mbengue said. “We are helping young girls in Senegal who don’t necessarily have access to the sport because of cultural barriers, economic and educational.”

“The hope is that they stay in the program and stay in school until they graduate high school,” he said, adding girls must remain in school in order to stay in the program.

Los Angeles Soccer Club forward Robin Larios-Ramirez passes during the Girls Kick Tournament at Webb on Saturday. Courier photo/Andrew Alonzo

The organization offers various courses and programs to help its students further their education and love of soccer. Mbengue said the sport can help one go far in life, as it did for him.

“It’s huge in terms of self-esteem,” he said. “To be able to the play a sport and be part of a team collective is huge in terms of foundational values for young women in particular , but [also] for young people in general.”

To learn more visit girls-kick.org.


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