"A LIFE-SUPPORTING BOOST:" DA SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENT GABBY DIAZ-ARCHILLA ON WHAT FINANCIAL AID MEANS TO HER

This year, 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 Gabby Diaz-Archilla, writing about what receiving a scholarship would mean to her.

By Gabby Diaz-Archilla, South Shore Select U-15

Some people have dreams and fight to make them happen. I have all the skills, training, and motivation to make my soccer dreams come true, but my family does not have the financial means to pay. I am an honors student, a great soccer player, and I volunteer to help children with severe autism. My father is a disabled Iraqi war veteran and my mother works full time and is a full-time student. I have a sister and two brothers, one brother who is autistic, nonverbal and suffers from epilepsy and Arnold Chiari Malformation.

A DA scholarship will help with our family's financial hardship, while helping me continue to try and achieve my goals in soccer. This scholarship will not only help shape who I am as a player but also as a person. As a player, I will not have to worry if attending an event will make the financial situation at home worse. This would sometimes cause my play to be affected. The financial assistance will be particularly beneficial to my family due to our situation, most notably our ever-growing health care fees. As far as soccer goes, my family is extremely involved. Out of four children, three of us play at a highly competitive level.

If I were selected to receive the DA scholarship, I will seize the great opportunity that South Shore Select has given me to play in such a competitive league. Soccer is an outlet that helps me to be creative and distracts me from the worries that me and my family deal with. This scholarship would be a life-supporting boost for all of us, and one day I hope I can do the same.