Staff Maribelia Avalos Founding Executive Director Maribelia Avalos founded CASA FC in 2008 with only a laptop and a vision for a brighter future for Latino youth throughout Colorado. She recruited eight players who formed the initial team. Today, more than 5,000 youth from the Denver Metro Area and surrounding areas have been enrolled in what has become a hard-driving competitive program known statewide as an emerging elite club. Maribelia believes in empowering youth to come into their own, fulfill their greatest potential and become successful leaders. As an athlete herself, playing every sport she could when she arrived in this country, she knows how sports can alter someone’s life course in powerful ways. After all, through her high school sports program, she received several full-ride scholarships to attend college. Of course, her sport of choice has always been soccer. But, after college, she wanted to create the same opportunities for young people in her community. Therefore, she created CASA FC with two guiding principles: that it would be affordable to the community and where talent from often overlooked communities can come and thrive. She was right. CASA FC has quickly become one of the most competitive clubs in the state and country, and CASA FC players are often recruited to play at the highest level for their age group, like MLS Next. Maribelia didn’t just create CASA FC from scratch; she served in all the roles for the organization - coach, director, manager, volunteer, driver, mentor, field coordinator, scheduler, and cleaner. She knows the club like the back of her hand. This also means she knows the story and lives behind every player, the strengths and opportunities each coach and team manager brings, and the challenges parents from the community must overcome to ensure their child gets the best opportunities in life. For Maribelia, it’s about centering quality over quantity. Maribelia is also a business owner. She is the founder and owner of Masfit. MasFit is an independent lifestyle, fitness, and well-being facility in the heart of The Highlands neighborhood in Northwest Denver. Masfit was founded by Maribelia Avalos Shisslak, a personal fitness and group fitness instructor with more than 22 years in the industry. Maribelia and CASA FC have been featured in 9News, Colorado Public Radio, VoyageDenver, La Voz, The Denver Post, Viva Colorado, Univision, and Telemundo, among other notable media. In 2013, Maribelia received a “Woman Who Has Changed the Heart of the City” Award from the Denver Rescue Mission. Maribelia is from Michoacán, Mexico. She graduated from Adam’s State University in 2008, having received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with concentrations in Accounting, Finance, Marketing, Economics, and Business Management. She also received a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and Mathematics. Ramiro Avalos Coaching Director of Girls Program Ramiro Avalos joined CASA FC in 2016 and was quickly promoted to Coaching Director of the Girls Program. For the last several years, Coach Ramiro has coached many of our girls’ CASA FC SUPERSTARS teams. His leadership and coaching style have been critical to the teams’ achievements in winning their way to Premier One after several championship wins. Several of his teams have reached Premier One with undefeated records. He has always gone above and beyond to make sure all the teams have the support they need, and all the players know that they are important talented individuals with unique skills, and that each of them bring something different to the team. His dedication as a coach is admirable. He leads with a strong and steady hand, and a gentle and kind spirit. His role in building the girls soccer program and giving every girl an opportunity to become better athletes and play the game they love, is what truly makes all of us at CASA FC proud. Coach Ramiro graduated from Adams State University in 2011 with a Bachelors of Science in Accounting. He is a Partner at Triumph Business Services, LLC in Denver. Karol Viviana Bird-Gomez Coaching Director of Recreational Karol Viviana Bird-Gomez, Coach Karol, joined CASA FC in 2021 and serves many roles. However, her love for the game is best matched with our beginners because that is where they fall in love with the sport, and we believe she has all the energy and ability to kickstart that passion in their lives. Her commitment to coaching is unbelievable. It comes naturally for her as the love for the game courses through her veins. This is why she was recently promoted to Director of Coaching of the Recreational Program. Coach Karol embodies believing in yourself, being a role model and prioritizing self-love. She has the power to make any player believe that if they work hard enough, persist, enjoy, and love what they do, they can do almost anything. She also believes in giving back to the community and working together to make things better for athletes in their daily lives. This is the reason why she fits in so well in CASA FC. As a woman, she believes it's very important to show young female athletes that they can be anything they want. Born in Pereira, Colombia, Karol came to the US 1993 at the age of four. Karol was raised in Fairview, New Jersey and attended Georgian Court University. Lily Kusumah Administration/Registrar Lilly Kusumah joined CASA in 2019 becoming part of the team behind the scenes. Her love for soccer and the community prompted her to join the CASA’s team as an Administrator. She is passionate about continuing to create a program for all kids of any background. Growing up playing sports she believes every child should have an opportunity to build bonding relationships and find their love for soccer.