So if you’re like us, you were a bit confused to see the weird space nerd team actually racking up some serious success in the Battle of the Kits from Lower League eCup.
You may have even been hoping they’d lose out to some of the better-known clubs in our community, especially by the time they faced grassroots cult heroes Minneapolis City SC.
To be honest, smallworld was firmly in that camp. That is, until we got off our high horse and began to truly investigate who Space United is as a club.
The truth is that SUFC is much more than a group of space-loving soccer players. They’re a network of community-minded people creating change in their field and in their hometowns, and the movement is quickly picking up steam.
To give myself and readers a bit of background on why I had a change of heart with Space United, I got connected with their founder, Camilo Tobacia.
I am a former player for Space United – LA and current player for Space United – Seattle. I am also a former soccer player for the professional team Millonarios FC, former engineer at SpaceX and current engineer at Blue Origin.Camilo Tobacia
For those who aren’t aware, Millonarios are arguably the most famous club in Colombia, so that’s no small addtion to Camilo’s resume. And yes, I know that because I wrote this, every other Colombian club’s supporters are going to attack me mercilessly. I SAID WHAT I SAID!
Anyway, Camilo has to be a pretty serious player. But he’s clearly passionate about space as well. He found an intriguing way to marry these two concepts through creating Space United.
The initial idea behind the team came while working at SpaceX, when I realized there were many engineers who, like me, had a deep passion and appreciation for soccer, and they too had unique stories of how education and sports played a positive role in their lives. This was the moment I realized we had a deeper mission than just a sunday league team and instead Space United had the potential to serve as a platform to inspire our communities to embrace education and sports.Camilo
Camilo’s not the only one in the space engineering field who loves soccer, it turned out. The project has grown exponentially since 2014.
On the soccer front, our club currently supports 2 grassroots amateur soccer clubs in Los Angeles and Seattle and 1 Teqball Club in Seattle. In addition to our ‘spaceroots‘ clubs, we are also planning to establish a professional soccer club and an academy that can contribute to the growth of soccer in the United States, as well as support the Pro-Rel system, which we believe will help USA soccer grow to a world class level.Camilo
Hold up, what was that?
Teqball is a ball sport that is played over a curved table combining elements of soccer and table tennis. It doesn’t involve lots of running, and thus provides an opportunity for friends to get together in a more fun and casual setting.Camilo
An exciting addition to be sure! But the excitement doesn’t stop with sports at Space United: they’ve got a commendable mission off the pitch.
We are partnering with schools across the nation and abroad to inspire young minds in socioeconomically disadvantaged communities. We are also actively participating to increase representation of minorities in STEM careers and education by providing mentorship and seminars for students pursuing careers in space.Camilo
That is absolutely crucial work. The socioeconomic sector isn’t exactly smallworld’s sphere of influence, but it’s not difficult to see that getting into a STEM career is much more difficult for those who don’t have high-cost resources and well-funded schools at their disposal. What an applicable way for Space United to involve themselves in making their community better!
Adding to the exciting off-field impact, Space United is incorporating and celebrating the diversity in its line of work. Camilo explains that he’s not exactly the only international member of the club.
We pride ourselves in showcasing our team’s diversity both in mission control (front office) and the soccer squads. Some of the different countries represented in our club include Argentina, Taiwan, Germany, Peru, Cyprus, Ecuador, Mexico and France. Our mission control team’s diversity brings a unique perspective to our mission and we are making a tangible commitment to reach our communities.Camilo
For Camilo, though, it’s more than being able to say the club encompasses four continents, more than ten countries, and endless futures. The real drive for him is much more personal.
Our community driven focus stems directly from my personal experiences as an immigrant from Colombia growing up in the United States. For many communities, there is a lack of positive support and that is why we are committed to work with young students to provide the mentorship they need to embrace education, play with passion, inspire dreaming and spark their creativity.Camilo
It doesn’t really get any better than that. So if you’re wondering whether you should be happy about Space United besting so many well-established clubs in our community and whether they belong, hopefully you’ve got your answer.
smallworld, for one, has a new club to follow. If you’re interested in following Space United as well, you’ve got a variety of options to do so.
They’re on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, and have a website. It’s the perfect time to follow Camilo’s ambitious outfit, as they currently plan to start a professional club as soon as 2021.
Thanks for reading, and make sure to show the club some love!
Stay weird and support local soccer!