BALDWIN PARK – Sierra Vista High School sophomore Sofia Estrada poured her passion for soccer and belief in its uniting power into an impactful essay, winning her first prize in the California Association for Bilingual Education (CABE) Student Writing Contest and showcasing how the sport allows bilingual people to share their stories, art and dreams.

In her essay, “The Universal Language That Could Change the World,” Estrada details how soccer enables people to communicate with each other without speaking the same language, tearing down barriers and uniting people from different cultures, religions and backgrounds.

“Soccer is a universal language,” Estrada wrote. “It is a language of action, stories, art, and collaboration. To me, soccer represents what it truly means to be bilingual. We all speak the same language when we play soccer.”

Estrada wrote about how a player communicates with others on the field through their facial expressions, body language and actions, such as shaking hands at the end of a game or helping an injured player stand back up when they fall. Whether it be through a player’s communication on the field or a fan’s goal celebration off the field, Estrada believes that soccer is the true way to unite the world.

“As I watch games, and look at the players communicating on the field, my heart feels hope for humanity,” Estrada wrote. “As I look at the people in the stands, I see different colors, different styles, and I hear different languages. But all the people have one thing in common. They all love soccer, and they are all watching its stories, art, and dreams evolve right there on the field.”

Estrada also recently won the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Foundation (HOBY) essay-writing contest, where she wrote about leadership in soccer. As one of the winners of the HOBY contest, Estrada will attend a summer conference where she will be able to further hone her leadership skills.

“I admire Sofia so much because she is a huge leader in my class and is never afraid to try new things,” said Charlene Fried, Estrada’s English teacher and mentor. “She is always involved in class, is extremely creative, and encourages those around her.”

Estrada said she draws inspiration from the Argentina national team, specifically Lionel Messi, and the way in which she sees members of the team communicate with each other and have fun while excelling in the sport that they love.

Estrada, who plays forward on her school’s varsity soccer team, hopes to become a professional soccer player and dreams of one day playing in the World Cup.

As the winner of the CABE contest, Estrada will read her essay in front of 1,000 attendees at the CABE 2023 Annual Conference, to be held Friday, March 24 at the Long Beach Convention Center.


BPUSD_SVHS CABE: Sierra Vista High School sophomore Sofia Estrada won the California Association for Bilingual Education (CABE) Student Writing Contest for her compelling essay on how soccer serves as a universal language.