Thanks to one of our own – Elvia Romo – who helped to connect IRL to Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC)!
Managed by Diego Zuniga, LAFC has recently kicked off a community program to engage the community at large by providing special experiences to visitors from local organizations. IRL is humbled and honored to be the first non-profit organization to participate in this new community program.
On May 17, 25 Almansor Academy students visited Banc of California Stadium for an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour and a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Diego Zuniga and Krista-Belle Arevalos (LAFC staff) warmly welcomed our students and teachers and kicked off the tour in the VIP guest hall with a narrative of the club’s history and vision.
Strategically located with downtown as its backdrop, the stadium design was based on historical sites from throughout Los Angeles, which are highlighted in each Club level/area (Founders Club, Field Level Club, Sunset Deck, etc.)
The second stop was the Supporters’ Section where students learned one of the LAFC songs and had the opportunity to perform it as a group.
The tour continued to the Sunset Deck (where seats cost $1,000 per game), the group suites (available for rent at $30,000), the owners’ suites, the corporate suites, and the broadcasting room where ESPN and other media outlets broadcast the games, among other incredible areas within the stadium.
The group walked down to the Field Level Club, the most exclusive area in the whole stadium, and then onto the press conference room where players and coaches answer press questions after each match. Students asked many questions to Diego and Krista-Belle regarding the game, the stadium, the players, etc.
But the best was yet to come! the group was taken through a glass door directly onto the field where the students had the opportunity to sit on the players’ bench and took lots of pictures. Our students were awed by this whole experience… their smiles, their reactions, their comments, and their questions about the field and how it gets repaired, cut, and marked… were priceless.
And the cherry on top – at least two of our students had never been to a professional stadium, so they were beyond excited for this opportunity!
After the completion of the well-organized one-hour tour, Diego and Krista-Belle took the group to the Owners’ Section where our students had lunch and refreshments while watching the field crew work on the pitch in preparation for the next game.
On the way out, some of the students and staff had the chance to stop by the LAFC shop to buy some souvenirs.
Two and a half hours later, the teachers were doing a headcount and students were jumping onto IRL busses to return to campus.
Definitely, it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for the students who visited Banc of California Stadium that day!
Because of the exceptional behavior of our students and the enthusiasm they showed, LAFC has extended this opportunity to all of our other programs as well. Westmoreland Academy students will look forward to visiting LAFC in July.
We are so appreciative of Diego, Krista-Belle, and the entire LAFC staff for providing our community with an inspiring experience that will not be forgotten!