Former Houston Dynamo Player Nathan Koumaou Discusses Uniform Unveiling Party For Inner City Youth
Former Houston Dynamo Player Nathan Koumaou has always been passionate about the community. Although Koumaou barely spoke English, that did not stop him from traveling to America at the age of 19. Fast-forward to today where Koumaou is now the proud Founder and CEO of The Baller Foundation which utilizes the power of sports and mentorship through The Baller Academy to positively impact the health and well-being of disadvantaged youth and their families. Koumaou hopes to “inspire the kids and contribute to the future with them.”
On March 7, 2020, the Baller Academy in partnership with Wal-Mart hosted a Uniform Unveiling Party and launched the Baller Academy Apparel line which includes t-shirts, hoodies, and hats. Syppin With Symone got the chance to speak with Koumaou to discuss the uniform unveiling party, plans of expansion, benefits kids receive from being a part of the Baller Academy and more!
Let’s talk about the Uniform Unveiling Party on March 7, 2020, the opening remarks will be presented by Harris County Judge Linda Hidalgo, what was the determining factor in choosing her?
Linda Hidalgo is the highest county judge for one of the biggest counties in the United States. If you look at her background, she came here from Columbia if I’m not mistaken when she was young. She is passionate about the community and she loves the sport of soccer. She loves giving back to the youth. We are grateful that we can have her. We also have other organizations that will be at the event as well. We have the Harris County Commissioner Adrian Garcia, council members, several elected judges, Walmart, Raising Canes, and all of our partners. People in the school district like the superintendent and the board members. We are looking forward to showing the city what our youth can do. We have several elementary school students that will be performing. We are going to have a band, cheerleaders, and dancers.
Would you want to have the Baller Academy program in other cities?
We are piloting the program in Dallas right now. But of course, we want to establish ourselves here in Houston and Harris County and the surrounding counties.
How many schools are you currently working with and how do you go about selecting the school districts you work with?
Currently, in 2020 we will have about 120 schools a part of our leadership and soccer program. So that is 240 teams which are about 3,300 children. We divide the seasons into different parts because we have the spring season starting right after the uniform release party on Saturday. Practice will start that Monday (March 9) We have 40 schools in the spring season. In the summer season, we will have about 20 and during the fall season, we will have about 60. So, during the spring season, we have schools from Aldine ISD, Houston ISD, and Spring ISD. In the summer we will go to other districts that we work with including Pasadena. For fall we will go to Humble and Spring Branch.
What are some of the benefits that the kids who are involved in The Baller Academy are receiving?
The program has different components. The soccer component consists of all of the kids having practice at the school, being coached by mentors, and they are a part of the soccer team. It’s like a soccer league for elementary school and middle school. The educational component consists of the teachers helping students who may have trouble in the classroom. We help the kids by mentoring them and letting them know they have opportunities through soccer and sports. We also have the Houston Police Department who is involved with the program. They come to the practices and the games. They also help with anti-bullying and anti-gun violence.
Will the uniforms change this season?
Yes, they will change but of course, Wal-Mart’s logo will be on there. They have been supporters since day 1. There will be some new organizations coming in so the uniforms will be exciting to see! The positioning of the logos will be different too.
Is there any significance behind the color of the uniforms?
We work closely with the school principal and the leadership team from the district. We try to pick colors that look good and that will also represent the school well.
If someone wanted to assist with The Baller Academy, how do they get in contact with you or your team?
One way to support is by going to Baller Acadmey.com and purchasing a t-shirt, hoodie or hat. A percentage of the proceeds will support the after-school programs. We are on Facebook, and all other social media platforms @BallerAcademy. You can also find out contact information on Baller Acamdey.com. We also have an office inside of the Galleria at Office Tower 1.