Breakaway College Access Project

About Breakaway

Expanded Scholarship Program

Breakaway's after school program closed in 2014 due to insufficient funding required to maintain the quality and quantity of programming that was available to Pájaro Valley youth since 2009. We are so thankful to our generous individual and institutional donors who helped to make our five years so successful!

While we are sad that the direct-services program could no longer continue, the impact of individuals' giving over the years has allowed us to significantly increase our annual college scholarship funding. As a result, we continue to provide scholarships to qualified Breakaway graduates entering college, and we have added scholarships for Breakaway graduates continuing in college. We have also set up a competitive scholarship for students from the community at large.

Thank you for your support!

Contact Information
PO Box 507, Freedom, CA 95019

Breakaway Events

Breakaway Soccer Fair 2014

April 10, 2014

On April 10, 2014, Breakaway celebrated its 5th year anniversary with a Soccer Fair and celebration. 50 youth players tried their skills at 7 soccer stations that challenged their technique, fitness and agility.

Breakaway community partners were also honored. Program partners included Watsonville High School and staff; PVUSD Extended Learning Services; CSUMB Upward Bound; and UCSC GEAR UP. Funding partners included Monterey Peninsula Foundation, Community Foundation of Monterey County, Community Foundation of Santa Cruz County, Pebble Beach Company Foundation, Nicholson Family Foundation, and the Freedom Lions Club. The ACTION Council, Breakaway's fiscal sponsor since 2008 was also recognized.

kids playing soccer

Beach Soccer Enthusiasts Wanted!

Be a member of Breakaway's 2014 beach soccer tournament crew and you'll help Breakaway raise over $10,000 for gang prevention and academic support services! Sign up for one or more 3 hour shifts on any or all of the tournament weekends below. All tournaments are at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.

Hurry, sign up today for the best shift options!

kids playing soccer

Watsonville soccer program coaches for college

See the article in the Santa Cruz Senitinel about Breakaway.

Breakaway 19 things in 2013-2014

5 Years and Counting On You!

We are celebrating 5 years of work impacting educational outcomes of youth in the Pajaro Valley. Every one of those years, we've seen results that look just like the 19 we point out here. But we are only getting started!

In 2009, we launched a direct-services program for youth, but from the start our goal has been to leverage the full potential of soccer in the Pajaro Valley. Because soccer reaches all corners of the community, the sport is a community asset. From this point of view, soccer is an under-tapped, educational resource.

What we wonder is, how can soccer's cultural liaisons (i.e. coaches, high caliber players, retailers, and the media), and its infrastructure be put into service to improve educational outcomes?

This is the question that guides us into the next phase of our development. We are looking for innovative thought partners, task masters, and underwriters who all have grit and a little bit of CRAZY to help realize this goal. If you are up for the challenge, or want more information, email

Beach Soccer Tournament Volunteers flyer

Volunteers Needed to Spend a Day at the Beach!

May 31 - June 2, 2013 at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

A day at the beach helps Breakaway raise $2,500! Breakaway has teamed up for a 3rd year with thePro-Am Beach Soccer Tournament. Breakaway recruits the tournament support staff, which raises $4,500 for the after-school Academy!

A great event for young adults, families with older youth, a work, church or civic groups. Morning, afternoon, and evening shifts available! Email to volunteer!

Goodwill Donation Drive flyer

Not Wearing Clothes?

April 26, 27 and 28, 2013 at Resurrection Church in Aptos

Breakaway and FC Revolution, a county-wide premiere-level soccer club serving at-risk youth, have teamed up with Goodwill on a donation drive.

Bring your gently-used clothes and other household items to Breakaway's Goodwill Donation Drive on April 26th, 27th, or 28th and help us raise $1,000 or more!

For every Goodwill trailer filled up, Goodwill donates $1,000 to us! Help fill up as many trailers as possible!

Click here to download the flyer.

Drop off items at 7600 Soquel Drive (Resurrection Church at the State Park Drive exit in Aptos) from 10:00 am – 4:00 pm on 4/26, 4/27 and 4/28 ONLY.

Breakaway Game: Staff vs. Students

Fall 2012

The Fall session at Watsonville High ended with a staff v student game. EVERYBODY played, including the staff who didn't know how to play. They did great, inspite of the muddy grass and lack of cleats!

Breakaway Fall Session 2012

Fall 2012

A series of pictures from Breakaway's Watsonville High and Pajaro Middle School sites during the fall session 2012.

beach soccer tournament 2012

Volunteers Needed to Spend a Day at the Beach!

June 8, 9, or 10, 2012 at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

A day at the beach helps Breakaway raise $2,500! Breakaway has teamed up with the Pro-Am Beach Soccer Tournament. Breakaway recruits the tournament support staff, which raises $2,500 for the after school Academy!

One youth or adult team can receive a free tournament registration (up to a $610 value!) by commiting at least 10 volunteers to help on at least one shift.

Volunteers will receive an event t-shirt, an event Care Package (includes all event and sponsor giveaways), Volunteer Dinner at 99 Bottles in Santa Cruz on Friday night, and breakfast, lunch, snacks and beverages on Saturday and Sunday. And of course, our most sincere appreciation!

Email for more information. See the (pdf) flyer for more details.

Open Mic Night poster

Open Mike Night Fundraiser for Breakaway

February 29th, 2012, 7-9 PM

Come out and rap, sing, pontificate, and express yourself! And have fun! Refreshements will be sold for only $1.

Where: 555 Main St. in Watsonville, behind the Bank of America building.

For more info call 831-707-3355.

Community Soccer Fair

June 12th, 2011

Breakaway held its first annual Soccer Fair on Sunday June 12th, 2011 at Watsonville High School, raising hundreds of dollars for local soccer programs. Youth soccer players competed at soccer-skill and fitness stations, testing their technique, agility, and fitness. The fair also showcased mini soccer games and soccer tennis.

Prizes were provided by Golds Gym Watsonville, Santa Cruz Elite Fitness, Green Valley Cinema, San Jose Earthquakes, and All Star Footwear.

Special thanks to the 30 volunteers and Fair Sponsors, Ocean Speedway, Institut’ DERMed, Soccer Central, Green Valley Cinema, Straw Hat Pizza, and the Watsonville Elks Club!

San Jose Earthquakes

April 2, 2011

On April 2nd, a dozen Breakaway students enjoyed a night in San Jose to watch the Earthquakes play the Seattle Sounders. Co-founders Sara, Hillel and Carol, coach Gabe and Teacher Eddy chaparoned.

The group arrived early for the pre-game fiesta. The kids then took part in the on-field presentation of the teams' players.

It was an exciting game, with back and forth play, and an ultimate tie.

Goals of the Heart: Wine, Art, Poetry and Silent Auction Fundraiser

Breakaway hosted an after-work silent auction, wine tasting, art, and poetry gathering on Thursday, November 18th at 5:30 pm at the Mulberry Gallery in Aptos.

This was a fundraiser for Breakaway's Total Training Academy. Entry to the event included wine tasting and appetizers, silent auction and a 2011 GO TO GOAL calendar, filled with the inspring and insightful “I Am” poems created by Breakaway students. A perfect holiday gift!

Selected poems were read by Breakaway students. Guest speaker, Watsonville Chief of Police Manny Solano spoke on the city’s community-based approach to public safety and how programs like Breakaway can help get to the root of the problem.

Yuri and Hillel

Yuri Morales Plays on the Beach

Breakaway guest coach and professional beach soccer player Yuri Morales just completed an outstanding season in the Swiss Beach Soccer League, tying the record for the number of goals in a single season. Yuri finished the season with 35 goals in 12 games!

Read more about Yuri at

Priscilla Meza

Breakaway’s Mexican National Team Player

Breakaway’s guest coach, Priscilla Meza, is earning her place at the highest level of women’s soccer: World Cup 2011!

Priscilla has been trained by Breakaway’s Head Coach Hillel Rom for years, and is establishing her place on the Mexican Women’s National Team. Read the article about Prisicilla in our local paper, the Register Pajaronian.

Changemakes entrant badge

Breakaway is a “Change Maker”

We have entered a global competition sponsored by Nike and Ashoka’s Changemakers called “Changing Lives Through Football.” The competition seeks project ideas that use football (soccer) to create social change. The criteria of interest includes “innovation, impact, and sustainability.”

Until July 26, viewers can read and discuss our entry along with the other 108 (to date) from across the world. A panel of judges will select the finalist for viewers to then vote on. Comments now are very welcome; we’ll ask for your vote later!

Spring Academy 2010

June 2010

The slide show include photos from our Spring 2010 session. We concluded the Academy’s 18-month pilot phase on May 20th. Over 160 students participated during this time, and we celebrate our first group of graduates, Adrian Martinez and Alex Melchor from Pajaro Valley High, and Ana Vasquez and Orlando Lara from Watsonville High. All have been accepted to a 4-year university!

CSU Monterey Bay Campus Tour

November, 2009

Breakaway and Upward Bound coordinated a tour of the CSU Monterey Bay campus for 12 Breakaway students. At the end of the day, we cheered on the men's soccer team playing CSU Chico (CSUMB won 2-1) and got to meet the coach and talk with players after the game. Click here to read about the CSUMB victory.


The Aztecas of South Santa Cruz County

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Breakaway's soccer coordinator, Gina Castaneda, is featured in the cover article of Santa Cruz Weekly. Read about Gina's work with the Aztecas, a soccer team for juvenile offenders in the Watsonville area.


Breakaway Summer Academy

August 10, 2009

Breakaway’s week-long Summer Academy inspired the visual creativity and self-expression of 17 students from the Pajaro Valley. The students’ efforts culminated in a digital storyboard project focused on the theme, “I am…” Read the poems for yourself!


Spring Session Finale

June 2, 2009

After nearly 10 weeks of soccer and academics, we celebrated with a final end-of-season game: Breakaway against Mandilon, Inc., who fielded a team of their members, veteran (not old!) high school players from Watsonville High School. Mandilon Inc. and Breakaway have partnered together to reinforce program activities and develop a mentorship between Mandilon Inc. members and Breakaway students.

Breakaway at FC Gold Pride Game

May 24, 2009

Breakaway players volunteered to chaperone young girls at the FC Gold Pride game against L.A.’s Brazilian player Marta. The FC Gold Pride is part of the United States renewed women’s professional soccer league.

Opening Day

March 24, 2009

Breakaway’s inaugural after school program is launched!

First day of the session was all about soccer! Special guests included Professional Soccer Player and AmericaScores Soccer Director, Yuri Morales; Semi-pro player and Watsonville local, Priscilla Meza; and Watsonville-based Mandilon Inc. members; and representatives from Breakaway’s sponsoring company, Driscoll’s Strawberries.