14-year-old boy among 6 migrant students playing on Senn High School soccer team

John Garcia Image
Tuesday, September 19, 2023
6 migrant students playing on Edgewater high school soccer team
A 14-year-old boy is one of six Chicago migrants playing on the Senn High School soccer team.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Cristofer, 14, is now playing for the Senn High School soccer team despite just moving to Chicago a few months ago.

The freshman grew up in Venezuela. He says he feels good, and feels like he fits in.

Cristofer is one of six migrants on the team. They joined an already diverse school community.

"That's kind of Senn's identity, is our diversity. It's the strength of our school, and everyone here has embraced it," said Coach Steven Brewer.

While the city has been struggling to find places to accommodate the growing migrant population arriving in Chicago, with some sleeping on police station floors, many of the kids have started school and are adapting to new classmates.

For Cristofer's teammates, it's going well.

"The transition has been pretty clean. We've seen a lot of kids adapted pretty well," said team captain Finnegan Dennis.

"We're giving them a good welcome. Just showing 'em how it is to be part of this family, this community," said teammate Vicente Quintero.

Outside of the soccer family, Cristofer is also taking classes in a new country.

He said the school has a number of classes they didn't have in Venezuela, like music and P.E., and he likes it. The school and his teammates have worked to help the new additions feel at home.

"They don't have all the clothes the other kids have, and we secured some donations," Brewer said.

At Senn High School, they really do consider themselves family. In fact, their t-shirt, on the back, has the word "family" written in all 17 languages spoken on the team.