She's Going Big--And She's Only 14

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She’s just 14 and in 8th grade, but Bridgette Marin has already jumped into the big leagues. Her clear-eyed focus and adept soccer skills caught the eyes of scouts, who selected her for the Women’s U14 US National Soccer Team. Bridgette began her soccer career with America SCORES Bay Area in the 1st grade at E.R. Taylor Elementary School, one of the largest and most ethnically diverse public schools in San Francisco.

E.R. Taylor is in a quiet neighborhood in the Excelsior District in southeast San Francisco. Sixty-five percent of its students are English Language Learners (ELL) and 80% come from socioeconomically disadvantaged families.

At E.R. Taylor, Bridgette was guided by Coach Manny Anaya, just as her older sister was and her younger sisters will be. It was clear how quickly Bridgette was picking up both soccer and poetry skills and how she was developing her own distinctive voice through the SCORES poetry program. “This girl will go to high places both in soccer and in life," Manny says. "She is humble, agile, smart, and always has a huge smile. It was a true privilege to have been her coach.”

Limits are only in your head

The second of four sisters, Bridgette comes from a deeply committed soccer family. Her elder sister Nazta also played for America SCORES at E.R. Taylor and is now bound for UC Riverside on a full scholarship. Bridgette's two younger sisters are in 5th and 1st grade at E.R. Taylor and her sisters are following their older sisters' lead. Their father, Nelson, provides his daughters deep support and guidance. "Limits are only in your head," he tells them. Early on, Nelson coached his girls and later helped them navigate the Bay Area soccer club maze. Bridgette now plays for the PSV Union Club in Palo Alto. The family continues to live in San Francisco but increasingly travels for games and tournaments.

Like many urban public schools, the SCORES teams at E.R. Taylor where Bridgette began did not have access to grass or turf fields. Instead, they practiced on the asphalt playground. That all changed when America SCORES installed a brand new turf field at the school. The "Virginia Dold Field of Dreams" is named for the long-time principal and educator who helped the school flourish despite limited resources and numerous challenges. Today SCORES students like Bridgette’s two younger sisters and their classmates at E.R. Taylor run and play on the kind of field that makes being a kid and an athlete safer and more fun.’