The word about the Underclassman All-Star Game apparently has gotten around. KG Sports Training Foundation founder Kiko Garcia made calls to local high school baseball coaches when putting together the inaugural game in 2008. This year, his phone is ringing with local coaches on the line. The second annual game is set for Saturday, June 20 at Jackie Robinson Stadium at Brookside Park. The skills competition – featuring 60-yard dash timing and agility courses – at 3:30 p.m. and the game will follow at 6. Glendora’s Dan Henley will coach the North and South El Monte’s Gil Adame will coach the South. The rosters will be finalized this weekend.
While this all-star game will showcase the San Gabriel Valley’s best returning talent, the purpose and the foundation’s long-term goals are what drives Garcia’s passion.
“The model is to help kids off the streets through sports and sports training,” Garcia said. “It struck me that all of the clientele I had are coming from fairly wealthy families.
“There’s a lot more kids out there who cannot afford this type of training. We also want them to get to college and we’re trying not to give them an excuse.”
While the KG Sports Training Foundation is still at the ground level, Garcia has scheduled a couple baseball camps and a golf tournament for exposure and fund-raising.
Local private schools – including La Salle – were invited to help with the
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“But if they can’t donate, that’s OK,” Garcia said. “We don’t want money to be the issue.”
Another camp set for June 27 serving ages 14-19 will be at Muir High. Local college coaches were invited for the 1 to 3 p.m. sessions.
Money raised will help the nonprofit organization. Donations are tax deductible.
Funds raised will help pay for scholarships distributed to underprivileged athletes and students who take part in the foundation’s training courses. Donations could also go to local high school baseball teams in need of new uniforms or equipment.
In return, the team will help in fundraising efforts for the foundation.
“It works out where parents are paying a lot less than, say, a spirit pack (where) they pay $200 or $500,” Garcia said.
So far, efforts to help are just getting started.
“We still consider ourselves as ground level,” Garcia said. “We have a lot of plans involved and at this point we’re talking to investors and people who want to donate on a larger sum to help us out and keep this going.”
Garcia’s long-term goals plan for a training facility of its own where student-athletes can come for training and tutoring. Plans are in place for the foundation to possibly provide after-school training programs at participating schools where they’ll also offer tutoring.
“I’ve talked to college students and they’re interested,” Garcia said.
Garcia trains his about 60 clients at Foothill Athletic Club in La Crescenta.
“I have another facility we’ll be opening in the City of Industry,” Garcia said. “We have the equipment in there and I would say we probably open mid-summer.”
Derek Wohlers, an assistant baseball coach at Azusa Pacific University, serves as Garcia’s right-hand man. Together, they will try to expand the game to the San Fernando Valley and Long Beach areas.
But for now, Garcia – who has coached at Arroyo, Rosemead, Temple City and Maranatha – will try to make this the ultimate showcase for underclassmen.
Contact Garcia at (818) 620-7569 for donations to the foundation or e-mail him at email@example.com.
Last year’s all-star game was a success. Despite the short notice, underclassmen were enthused to have an all-star game of their own. All-Star games for underclassmen are allowed after the school year is officially over, deemed as June 14 by the CIF-Southern Section.
The golf tournament is set for Nov. 6 at the La Ca ada Country Club.