Support young talent

Published 1:58 pm Monday, December 31, 2012

It’s always exciting to see young people showing great promise.

Fortunately, in Suffolk, there’s no shortage of bright futures. Suffolk’s schools are burgeoning with future scientists, great scholars, budding artists, aspiring teachers and many others whose world-changing days are only a few short years away.

Athletic talent, too, is ubiquitous in Suffolk. The latest example to come to the forefront is 12-year-old Jalen Hollins, who has played in the Suffolk Youth Athletic Association since he was preschool-aged. Jalen recently was among 48 soccer players to make the cut into the statewide Olympic Development Program.

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The grueling 10-week tryout program included performing complicated drills in front of coaches, scrimmaging against other players and impressing coaches by demonstrating great ability and attitude.

The program doesn’t come without hurdles. It required Jalen’s parents, Glenn and Sharon, to pay to enter the program and shuttle him back and forth to the tryout sessions in Virginia Beach, Williamsburg and Richmond. It was a process they were familiar with, as their older son had already been through it.

Now that he’s in the program, he’s required to be in Richmond every weekend in January and February, as well as two weekends in March.

Jalen has lofty goals for his future in soccer — being seen by college coaches, getting scholarships and making it to the pros are among them, he said recently.

Jalen knows his hard work and the support of his parents are what enabled him to earn a spot in the program. We hope his family will be an example to other talented young people who are working hard and their parents who are supporting them, and we hope the community will continue to support youth sports organizations that are helping make these successes possible.