Santa Monica Black-Owned Businesses and Entrepreneurs (Part 3 in a Series)
July 14, 2020 7:15 AM
by Erin Taylor
We recently interviewed a variety of Black-owned Business Owners in Santa Monica to hear their unique story and perspectives. Read on to hear about these amazing small business owners throughout our City and how the Santa Monica community can provide support. This is Part 3 in a series. If you are a Santa Monica business, and you’d like to add your story, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
A special thank you to Lauren Salisbury of Santa Monica’s Travel & Tourism for interviewing the Westside Premier Soccer Club.
Part 3 in a Series
Westside Premier Soccer Club Ensures Children in Santa Monica have Equal Access to Club Soccer
Reginald and Hajar, owners of Westside Premier Soccer Club, fill a local void by offering affordable club soccer opportunities and scholarships to about 100 students in Santa Monica and the westside each year. As active community members, they also advocate for equal access to Santa Monica fields, grants, and contracts, share their views on recent staff and budget cuts, and suggest bringing people from all backgrounds together to discuss ideas and solutions in order to make change. Read more about their story>>
Business Name: Westside Premier Soccer Club
Business Owners: Reginald, Executive Director, and Hajar
Brief History: “Our program has been in Santa Monica since 2012. Our overall goal in the beginning was to create equal access for families of all socio-economic statuses to participate in club soccer. The average cost of club soccer on an annual basis is anywhere from $300 to $3,500 a year. For most families, especially those on a fixed income, they are not able to afford the opportunity to participate in club soccer. We wanted to change that.”
Why did you decide to open a business here in Santa Monica?
“We moved to Santa Monica and our children were going to school in the district. It was clear that the City of Santa Monica needed a program that was going to address the needs of creating equal access to opportunities for families of color who could not afford club soccer programs. What became clear was that there was a void that needed to be filled here. To our surprise there were a large amount of kids locally who were not able to afford the cost of these programs.”
What types of products/services do you offer?
“We offer two different programs within our club. The academy program which is for kids from 5-8 years old which is an introduction to soccer that teaches them basic skills. We have a more advanced program, the Club program, that teaches more advanced 6-14. We offer scholarships at different levels based on a family’s financial situation. We can provide anywhere from 25% to full scholarship and work with about 100 kids a year.”
How can the Santa Monica community support you and other Black owned businesses?
From Reginald: “I can provide you specific information with the challenges we’ve faced. Our program relies on space to be able to provide the training and games on the weekend. The way that the system is currently built is that the city gives first access to the larger programs. As a result of other programs being larger, they get first access to the space that the City of Santa Monica has. Our biggest challenge has been getting space during the week at a reasonable time. After all other groups have been accounted for the only remaining hours are inappropriate for the ages of the children we are working with. The ideal time for us to be able to host our program is 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. but those being the premier slots they are often given to other groups. To host our programs we have to venture out of Santa Monica. Right now we are hosting most of our programs in Playa Vista. For our families, with 70% of them being from the City of Santa Monica they have to drive far just to get their kids to practice or games. This creates a huge inconvenience for our kids and our staff members.”
From Hajar: “The City can help by giving us equal access to grants and governmental loans and contracts, subsidizing commercial property, creating a more equitable RFP process, granting equal access to spaces, workshops, and grants. It seems that the result of a lot of processes in Santa Monica do not provide access equally. I don’t know if it’s done on purpose but when other people are given access and you aren’t it makes it seems like it’s the case.”
What information do you want the Santa Monica community to know?
From Reginald: “I think that it could be beneficial for the community for these round table conversations to be held throughout the year. There’s a lot of power in bringing people together from all different backgrounds to discuss ideas and solutions in order to make change. Often times people of color don’t have access to all of the information or things that are going on – we often are unrepresented in the community. I don’t know if there’s another way to have more representation. If this process could be done on a consistent basis to discuss these issues. There could be a lot of power in bringing together different people.”
From Hajar: “I’m a very active community member. We’ve done a good job of being in contact with city council and different businesses . Often times we are invited to the table and present our ideas but often times they are looked on as if it’s not important. We are given the opportunity to speak and be heard but it doesn’t seem that that information is being put into action. It’s evident that it’s not equal and it’s not equitable.
There was a lot of momentum in the City with Alisa Orduña. When those people are let go it sends the message that those issues are not important. Same with at the parks – there were a lot of positions that were making a difference. Once budget cuts come, our communities are hit the hardest even though you would think the city would want to help. Put money into these programs instead of police.
We still persevere through this and running a program like Westside Soccer Club – you learn to be committed when you come together as a team. It gives our community a chance to bond and come together as a family. Our program allows children and families to coexist and learn about each other and become a family which is much different than their traditional environments at school, church and in their neighborhoods."
Is there anything else you wanted to share?
Westside Premier Soccer Club is funded by a non-profit called The Grass is Greener Foundation. Making a donation to this non-profit will help children in Santa Monica have equal access to soccer.
Contact Information: westsidepremiersc.org | 424.214.8471
Hours of operation: N/A