News Detail


December 21, 2016

Finding something to do at any given moment is easy, but finding something enjoyable is a different task. For the then 13-year-old Petra Azar, finding something she enjoyed doing on a Friday night was difficult. That was until she found out about the TOPSoccer Program.

During a conversation, a family friend suggested to Petra that she join one of the many TOPSoccer Programs there are throughout Southern California. The Santa Ana native knew she liked working with kids, and to mix in soccer, a sport she had been playing since she was a toddler, it was a no brainer.

“We researched it, emailed Orange County, and Yorba Linda,” said Petra’s mom Vina Azar. “We heard about through a friend without an explanation, we didn’t know much about it, but she thought, ‘soccer, kids, why not?’”

According to the Cal South TOPSoccer Chair Sandy Castillo, Petra reached out to two programs without hearing back. After seeing Petra’s eagerness to join the program, she decided to take her under her program at JUSA.

Three years and endless of memories later, Petra has been named the 2016 US Youth Soccer Region IV TOPSoccer Buddy of the Year, and she will be honored at the 2017 US Youth Soccer Gala that will be taking place on Friday, Jan. 13 at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

“We were kind of lost until Sandy called us because we got a letter and we thought she was volunteering up in LA,” her mom admitted.

“Honestly, it means the world to me!” Petra said about being named Region IV TOPSoccer Buddy. “I did not expect this. I just went to TOPSoccer because I loved it. I did not even know they gave Buddy of the Year awards.”

With her naming to the regional award, Petra is now eligible to win the national award, which will also be named during the January Gala.  

“My experience has been fantastic!” Petra exclaimed. “It’s been difficult at times but I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything. I love every minute of it.”

Like many teenagers, Petra’s life involves numerous events – from being a member of the National Honor Society at El Modena High School to soccer practice with her Albion OC team to volunteering with the City of Anaheim. But even though her life may be busy, the one thing she always looks forward to during the week are Fridays because that only means that she’ll be going to the TOPSoccer Program where she will help others have an enjoyable experience, while creating memories of her own.

“It’s the little things – the high fives, the hugs. It’s honestly all the little memories and whenever the kids do something, they always ask me for piggy back rides, which is difficult on my knees but I still manage it,” she joked.

“What I loved the most is that she got in the car and she would tell stories, mention the kids’ names and he did this and she said this, and this is what we did, she was talking all the way home, which was a 20-minute drive,” Petra’s mom said. “She was talking about what happened in the practice or the game, or who gave her a hug. She was always excited about telling me about the afternoon.”

Although Petra and her family have earned a great experience through her being part of the TOPSoccer Program, the participants have also gained a great experience thanks to Petra.

“Petra really is an amazing TOPSoccer Buddy and such a sweetheart!” Sandy said. “She has great relationships with all players and coaches, and she has such a passion for the sport and the program.”  

On behalf of Cal South, congratulations to Petra Azar on her commitment and accomplishments with the TOPSoccer Program!

Click here if you would like to learn more about the Cal South TOPSoccer Program.