As a first-generation student growing up in a distressed inner-city community, Ulises Urbina worked hard to make sure he came out on the right side of things. His efforts led him to the pitch, and eventually, across the graduation stage for the perfect ending.
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Next time you call Ulises Urbina’s name, make sure you add the prefix “4A High School State Soccer Champion.”
In May 2019, Urbina helped lead his team to a state championship and capped off his senior year at Oklahoma City’s Southeast High School with a hat trick: a diploma, a ring, and an athletic scholarship to play soccer at the collegiate level.
However, Urbina’s storybook ending started from humble beginnings.
The son of Mexican immigrants growing up in a struggling community, Ulises’s future wouldn’t have appeared very bright to the common observer. But Urbina’s parents set a standard of grit and ceaseless dedication the young student-athlete embodies in every facet of his life.
It is why he has found success on the field, in the classroom, and in his community.
My parents did it with nothing. I just want to make them proud.
Through soccer, Urbina learned how to shift his focus to the game and away from negative distractions off the pitch.
Through the bond of team sports, Ulises found himself surrounded by positive influences. And in a safe environment, he formed a healthier relationship with his community.
And through the leadership and guidance of his coaches, Urbina learned what it takes to reach the next level.
Each of these lessons will carry him across life’s many stages.