The Miami- Dade area is well known for gang violence, especially within the juvenile community because of the youth’s vulnerability. However, the sport of Volleyball serves as more than entertainment for the community. It serves as a diversion from the harsh realities of Miami’s fast life and a special and safe place for Coach DePaula’s team.
Iraq veteran and Miami native, Mathieu DePaula, returned from war inspired to make a difference within his community and create positive opportunities for the youth. He began coaching in one of North Miami’s toughest areas in 2008 and has been dedicated to coaching inner-city volleyball since his return from the war in Iraq. When asked about what drives his passion he stated it’s for the love of the game and that he “wants to show people that great things and talent comes from the inner city”.