Beginning the summer of 2011, Jesse Elizondo, along with his friend, Doug Tyler, committed to starting a soccer league for the community of Gonzales. This would not be an ordinary sports league. This league would be centralized around The Good News. That prayer became a vision which eventually birthed the Gonzales Youth Sports League with Jesse serving as its Director. The youth soccer league officially began in August of that same year. Jesse and Doug’s vision resulted in a league that was organized, fair (non-discriminate against gender, color, or family origin), family friendly, church accommodating and that promoted numerous kinds of opportunities for the children of this community while facilitating The Good News to everyone involved. This soccer league gave all players equal amounts of playing time using a playing rotation schedule and balanced each team according to the team’s skill set and the ability of the players.
Participating families appreciated the league’s careful attention to coordinating around local church events and weekly meetings. The league placed priority on family time and as a result, siblings were able to practice on the same days. Thus eliminating being tied to the soccer practice fields every day of the week. Each child had the opportunity to have fun on the field but character development was also the goal and vision of this league. Jesse encouraged adult involvement by creating a simple training process for coaches. Constant communication was part of equipping the volunteers with the necessary tools in being successful on the field. The intent behind the league was to encourage parents (350-400 approximately) to participate and witness the character development of their children while blessing the community by providing kids something positive to be involved in.
Even local businesses were encouraged to invest in the next generation of our city. The soccer league became a mission field where people were engaged and intentionally sharing and demonstrating God’s grace in many ways. Simply put, God’s love was on display and at the central core of this organized league.
The league started in 2011 with 87 children and 13 coaches. Over the next several years, the league grew to 270 participants and 49 coaches which included assistant coaches as well. Additionally, in 2015, the sports league organized a basketball league which included 223 children and 47 coaches.
In November of 2013, spurred by the success of GYSL, Director, Jesse Elizondo, along with Doug Tyler and Luis Reyna, presented the 7 most compelling reasons for soccer to be integrated within GISD. The decision to move forward with incorporating soccer into the district’s school-sponsored sports events was approved the following month. The most persuasive point involved the future positive academic impact and scholarship potential for students in our school system. This compelling reason was and is still being
proved accurate and true. There have been 3 students who have re-enrolled into the school system for the sole purpose of participating in the sport of soccer. Two of these students are currently enrolled at GHS and have the potential of receiving major scholarships to attend a University. The school district’s support has given students a reason to maintain academic excellence who wouldn’t normally be motivated to do so otherwise.
In 2012, Jesse Elizondo was asked to serve on the Advisory Board for the JB Wells Park because of his historical impact on our community. While serving on this board, Jesse has assisted in overseeing the building of 4 large size soccer fields, providing walking trails and even initiating the building of the civic center still in progress today.