News Detail


July 19, 2018

For over 25 years, Sandy Castillo has been a more than an active member of the TOPSoccer community, working hard to make the most out of every event and making sure each attendee, player or volunteer, leaves with a smile on their face.

TOPSoccer, The Outreach Program for Soccer, is a community-based recreational program specifically designed to help athletes with physical and mental disabilities participate in soccer. The Cal South TOPSoccer Program, which Castillo has chaired for almost 16 years, aims to provide its players and their families affordable opportunities for fitness and self-esteem boosting, giving them an opportunity to be a part of the soccer community.

With the help from Castillo, better known amongst her peers as the TOPSoccer Queen, the program continues to grow, not just in athlete participation numbers, but also the number of programs developing throughout the Southland, making a strong impact in the community.

Because of her work through the years, Castillo was nominated by the LA Galaxy to serve as their 2018 MLS Community MVP, a role model from the local community who makes a positive impact in social issues that focus on diversity, equality and inclusion.

“I am totally in shock, I think they chose the wrong person,” Castillo said jokingly. “The reality is that I don’t do it alone. I have a great team of people that are behind me and help me do whatever needs to get done and if it wasn’t for the group of people that I have, we wouldn’t get a lot of stuff done. I may carry the stick, but I have a great group of community volunteers that help me.”

Each of the 23 MLS teams nominate a role model from their local community, and starting on Thursday, July 19 until Wednesday, August 1, soccer fans across the country and Canada are able to vote on a nominee. Twenty-two finalists will attend the 2018 MLS All-Star Game presented by Target in Atlanta, where they will receive national recognition during halftime, as well as a $1,000 donation to their charity of choice. The grand prize winner, to be announced at halftime of the game, will receive a $25,000 donation to their charity of choice.

When it came to selecting a charity, Castillo had no doubts when choosing the Junior United Soccer Association (JUSA) Program in Anaheim, the longest-tenured TOPSoccer Program under US Youth Soccer, and a proud supporter of the program.

“JUSA has provided everything for our kids and has never turned us down; they have never said no to my kids,” she said. “More importantly is that a lot of these activities that we do, I do them for my daughter, who was a big part of the JUSA family. By donating to JUSA TOPSoccer, it’s also keeping my daughter’s memory alive in the organization.”