It’s a new chapter in the life of New York native Hugh Roberts.
The 29-year-old recently moved to the Central Coast to play for the new Monterey Bay Football Club.
There are two things that drive Roberts: his love of football and his passion for giving back to those in need.
This year, his eyes (and heart) are on Salinas, as he has pledged to donate money to local families with every game he plays.
Roberts donates $20 for each game, an additional $20 for each win, an additional $10 for each goal and, as a central defender, $10 for each time he is able to prevent an opposing team from scoring zero goals.
Over the past few months, while settling into his new home in Monterey County, Roberts has been doing his best to become part of the community. He played games with young soccer fans at the Salinas Soccer Complex and visited their families.
He says it was learning about their economic disparities and food insecurity that he decided to take action.
“I saw similar things on the East Coast. My own family was struggling a bit in New York and when we moved to DC, we were struggling there too,” he said. “I went there to Salinas and distributed food with a member of the local food bank team. Meeting families and witnessing the need first hand is different than just seeing it on social networks.”
Roberts is not alone in his efforts.
He contacted and partnered with Salinas Soccer 831, a non-profit organization that helps local children and families with all things sports, opportunities, and basic needs.
“I was excited when I heard what he wanted to do and that he wanted to partner with us,” said Soccer Complex manager Jonathan De Anda. “With football at heart and a long-term vision to help the community, it was a no-brainer.”
De Anda says he hopes the money raised will help in more ways than one.
“We want to provide a space where children and their families can enjoy safe and healthy outdoor activities, learn life skills, serve as an economic engine for local businesses and provide access to communities that have none. “, said De Anda. .
Monterey Bay FC chairman Mike DiGiulio said the team is supporting Roberts and Salinas Soccer 831 every step of the way.
“It makes us very proud, it’s all we represent in this community,” DiGulio said. “We came here with the hope and desire to help, to be a club that can provide hope and opportunity to everyone in the community, especially the young people of Salinas.”
This isn’t the first time Roberts has made it his mission to give back.
He started his own non-profit organization called Footys Got You Backyard Footy Foundation, which raised thousands of dollars for the various communities he lived in.
Roberts hopes he can maintain that in Monterey County.
“I hope this can lead to more things like food drives. Even though I’m not there, I want people to feel my love and know that real work is going on,” he said. declared. “A lot of people will say they want to help and it kills the spirit of the community when they have hope and no one follows up.”
Roberts and De Anda hope to rally the community with the necessary donations to expand their efforts and raise as much money as possible.
A GoFundMe has been set up on https://www.gofundme.com/f/tr3vya-backyardfooty-foundation
Donations can also be made through Roberts’ social media @superhughman or by visiting https://linktr.ee/backyardfootyy