"THIS SCHOLARSHIP WOULD MEAN THE WORLD TO ME:" DA SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENT EDSON PALOS ON THE IMPACT OF FINANCIAL AID

This year, more than more than one million dollars in financial aid for the Development Academy Scholarship Program has been provided to youth players across the country as part of U.S. Soccer's ongoing commitment to reduce barriers for youth players to participate in the sport.

Here's a personal statement from scholarship recipient Edson Palos, writing about what receiving a scholarship would mean to him.

By Edson Palos, Real So Cal U-18/19

I feel like I deserve this scholarship because I put in a lot of effort in going to practice and games while I live 48 miles from where we practice and play. I travel 96 miles four times a week and it takes a toll on my family and me, physically as well as financially as gas money adds up.

My parents work seven days a week just to make ends meet with bills and rent. They do not have the chance to go and watch me practice or play because they are busy and do not have much financial help. This scholarship will allow them to save up some money and travel to watch me on the road to accomplishing my dream, which is to play in college and professionally.

I have worked hard and earning this scholarship would mean the world to me. It would be the beginning of something special and I will not take any opportunities given to me for granted. It would help me develop into a much better player by letting me continue to train and play at a really high level. As a person, it will keep me humble and working hard in whatever it is that I do. I have learned that hard work eventually pays off and this scholarship would be a huge help. I wake up at 6 a.m. to go to the park and get extra reps in, even during practice days. I really want this opportunity to prove to my family and prove to myself that I am good enough to compete and make a positive difference to my team, and it will shape me into a better person by making me work even harder.

From Edson's club, Real So Cal:

Edson came to our club seeking a chance to play in the DA in order to gain a path to college. He is a very responsible, respectful young man that is fun to be around. He always represents himself, his family and our club with class.