The group lined up to speak at last week's Santa Fe Public Schools Board of Education meeting forum differed from the usual assortment of PTA parents and neighborhood association members who typically take the podium.

"Gracias por apoyarnos" (thank you for supporting us) was all many of the speakers said, but they still stole the show. Mostly elementary-school boys, they were members of the district's first all-volunteer soccer league, which recently began playing on Sundays at Sweeney Elementary School's field.

The new league's young members, each wearing soccer jerseys and slightly self-conscious smiles, thanked the school board and SFPS Superintendent Bobbie Gutierrez for giving them use of the school's field.

League organizer Miguel Acosta translated the words of one of the soccer coaches, who explained that kids' engaging in more positive activities with each other instead of "wasting time playing Nintendo" is important.

"I think Miguel was trying to show it just takes a little bit of organization, and there's a lot of demand for sort of family-oriented activities, so they very quickly were able to put together the soccer league," board Vice President Glenn Wikle says.

In an email to SFR, Gutierrez writes that Capital High School may have a state soccer title in its future because of the youngsters' early practice.

“I am impressed by their organizational skills and desire to create a safe and fun family activity for many of our students and their families,” Gutierrez writes of the league’s organizers.