Conference Center

Making Dreams Come True

Photo Credit: CityGate Dream Center

When local volunteer and former college athlete Armando Camacho asked Lisa Edwards if he could create a youth soccer league at the CityGate Dream Center last summer, they didn’t know they were planting the seed for an amazing journey that would take the team to compete in London in June.

The center, located in East Burlington, aims to serve the diverse members of the Alamance County community who live nearby. “We say Dream Center for two reasons,” says Edwards, who has overseen its operations since it first opened in 2015. “We want people to have a dream bigger than they might see around them. And, we want to be a launchpad for people’s dreams.”

Saying “yes” is a big part of making that possible, Edwards says. During the past eight years, she has said “yes” to many initiatives that have deepened the sense of belonging for many of the young people who attend events at the community center, as well as their families. Most of the families who benefit from the center are first- and second-generation immigrants who often feel isolated or find it difficult to fit into the mainstream culture.

When Camacho raised his hand to coach the youth league, Edwards didn’t hesitate to once again say “yes.” While the center offered soccer among its many after school activities, Camacho, who received a scholarship to play football at A&T University, had noticed that some of the kids were very talented and could benefit from playing competitively. Almost immediately, 60 kids signed up, so he created two teams. Less than a month later, the Dream Center teams were competing at the 5v5 regional soccer tournament in Winston-Salem, with one of the teams winning a spot in the national tournament in Orlando, Florida, this past November. 

Leading up to the tournament, the team had a rigorous training schedule, which included multiple sessions a week of strength and cardiovascular exercises, among others. Their efforts paid off. After going undefeated in the tournament, the U14 DC team earned the national championship title, securing an invitation to play in England in June against local clubs and train with Premier League players along the way.

It’s a dream come true for many of these local young men who love the sport and worked so hard to get here while keeping up with their academics. The players range in age from 11 to 15; all attend local schools. But above all, they are proud to have the opportunity to be ambassadors for the Alamance County community, and to inspire others to believe in themselves. 

That newfound confidence has been contagious, Edwards says, adding that she is already seeing the ripple effects of the success of the soccer team in other areas of the center’s work. Parents are speaking up and getting involved more, even launching new initiatives of their own. Camacho himself is now a full-time staff member at the center and has started a wrestling program.

“We’ve had a lot of families over the years involved with us, but with soccer, it’s really come full circle,” Edwards says. “I’ve dreamed of taking kids on extraordinary trips like that and I never knew it would be around soccer, but how awesome is that? What I love the most is getting to see someone else use their gifts and see the impact that their life can have.”

This dream journey for the U14 DC team will begin on June 12. The Dream Center community has been doing everything it can to send the team overseas, with members of the Rotary Club of Alamance County conducting several fundraisers over the past several months. Learn how you can support the team. For more information, contact or