Coaching Corps Coaching Corps

Coaching Corps Coaching Corps


Vidal Sandoval

Venice High School Los Angeles, California
nominated by Malleke Lord
Score 169
  • 136
  • 8
  • 25
  • 0
Sports Coached
Venice High School
Coaching Since
Years Coaching
Known For
He is most known for the caterpillar he keeps over his lip and always being there for his team
Why They're My Game Changer
I have played a variety of sports and had several types of coaches, but the one coach that I base my coaching philosophy on is coach Sandoval, my high school track coach. I did not consider myself a track runner. I was only on his track team, so I would not have to take a 6-period class in high school in between my sports seasons. I thought I could have flown by under the radar and do the bare minimum, but not with coach Sandoval, he was always there to push me, and everyone else to be better. We had 3 groups when we practiced: the "A" group top runners, "B" group average runners, and "C" group beginners and injured runners. I was an “A” group runner, however I would fake an injury or come up with excuses to be in the “C” group. I did not want to do all that extra work the “A” group was expected to do, also majority of girls on our team was in the "C" group. I thought, why would anyone want to run hard when you could just run half speed and hang out with girls all period. Coach would constantly call me out if whenever I would slack off, and he would place me back in the “A” group because of his expectations of everyone. When we went running off campus I would sneak away from the “A” group and do a shorter workout with the “C” group but he was there. Honestly, I did not like him at first, I felt he was always there when I didn’t want him to be. I was planning to quit the team after the first season, because I was not accustomed to the work load. I was not sure why I went back to the team the following year, but realize his presence was something to appreciate rather than resent him. His drive for pushing his expectations of me helped me realize I did not want to disappoint him or myself. It allowed me to gain confidence and determination to improve. Coach Sandoval gave up his free time during nutrition, lunch and after school, to provide a safe place for students to gather something witnessed many students benefited from. He changed the game for me because the coaching philosophy that I use to this day is to always be there for your athletes and expect more from them whether they want you to or not and help them see the greatness in themselves.

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Afterschool Program Partners


Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta: Samuel L. Jones Boys & Girls Club
Afterschool Program Partners


All Dorchester Sports and Leadership

Boston Centers for Youth & Families


Cambridge Community Center

East End House

Oak Square YMCA

Sole Train: Boston Runs Together

Afterschool Program Partners

Los Angeles

A Place Called Home


After School All Stars: Los Angeles

Boys & Girls Club of Venice

Boys & Girls Clubs of Carson

Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Los Angeles

Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Monica

Boys and Girls Clubs of the LA Harbor

Brotherhood Crusade

City of Huntington Park Department of Parks

East Los Angeles Rising Youth Club

Equitas Academy

Girls on the Run of Los Angeles

Girls Play Los Angeles

ICES Education


L.A.C.E.R. Afterschool Programs

Long Beach Parks, Recreation and Marine

Los Angeles Rec and Parks

Major League Baseball Youth Academy

Norwalk La Mirada Unified

P.F. Bresee Foundation

Sloane Stephens Foundation

Street Soccer USA: Los Angeles

Team Prime Time

Variety Boys & Girls Club

Watts Rams

YMCA of Metropolitan Los Angeles

Afterschool Program Partners

San Diego

Gompers Preparatory Academy

High Tech High

La Maestra Foundation – Center for Youth Advancement at Generations

The Monarch School

Pro Kids | The First Tee of San Diego

Soccer Kids America

YMCA of San Diego County

Afterschool Partners


Boys & Girls Club of Central Florida

City of Orlando Athletics

Afterschool Program Partners


JT Dorsey Foundation

Going Above and Beyond the Call of Duty

Benita Vargas-Brown, Volleyball Coach at Hampstead Hill Academy

Benita Vargas-Brown grew up in one of the poorest parts of Baltimore. She always wanted to make a difference in the city, which is why she became a social worker. That same passion eventually led her to coach and mentor kids in sports. Learn more about Benita’s journey in her own words.
How did you become a Coaching Corps coach?
I didn’t go looking for coaching, it found me. I was really stressed with my job and my final semester in undergrad, so my husband said, “You’re really not helping yourself. Why don’t you leave your job, take the semester off, and figure out what you want to do next?” So, I went to a volunteering fair, and that’s when I got to know Coaching Corps. It was destiny: They were looking for a volleyball coach, and I am qualified to coach volleyball. They said they needed a coach for Hampstead Hill Academy, which is literally just a walk away from our home. So, it was really perfect.
Can you tell us more about the challenges that the kids you coach face at school and at home?
When people hear Baltimore, crime and violence are among the usual challenges that come to mind, so it was extra important to keep the kids off the streets. I’ve had to drive some of the girls home so they don’t have to take the bus when it’s dark.
There have also been some differences among the girls. The school is located at Patterson Park, where on one side you have the million-dollar houses, and on the other you have boarded-up houses. So you wind up having kids coming from privileged and underprivileged situations. This created some interesting dynamics within the team that led to some difficult conversations, but we got through it eventually. That’s one of the benefits of team sports. We got this whole learning experience that wound up really positive at the end.
You mentioned something about “interesting team dynamics.” Can you share more about that?
This is actually one of the things I’m proudest [of] about my team. The girls take it upon themselves to address differences within the group. At one point, it became very clear during our practice that something wasn’t right. We were on this championship drive but there was obvious tension within the team. The girls came to me and gathered as a group to talk things through. The fact that they came up with that strategy on their own is really amazing. For me, it meant that we’re doing something right. After that talk, we got back together as a team. I’m so glad we did it because I know for a fact we wouldn’t have won the championship without sorting things out. Everybody makes mistakes. At the end of the day, what’s important is to be there and have each other’s backs.
What changes or improvements did you see in the girls as a result of being on the team?
The most obvious one would be the sense of maturity. To be in a position where you have a responsibility over something, to be able to practice and play, there are expectations. If you didn’t come to practice on Wednesday, you’re not going to play on Thursday: that’s the consequence for skipping practice.  Eventually it wasn’t the consequence that really drove them. It was their commitment.
All my [Coaching Corps] girls who tried out for high school sports made their teams. There are two highly-rated schools in Baltimore, Baltimore Polytechnic institute and Baltimore City College. To get into those schools is every parent’s and kid’s dream. They have great education and high graduation rates, and they don’t tolerate gang-related violence, which creates a safer environment for the kids. Fifteen of the girls from the team got in and played for Poly while 13 went to City. That makes me really happy.
Wow! If there’s one way to describe success and promoting equity, that would be it. With all these experiences, what advice would you give aspiring coaches and mentors for kids?
Show up. You have to be there. You have to be consistent. You can’t cancel on these kids. Over the course of my time, if I know something’s going to come up in my schedule, I plan for an assistant coach to take over. Kids know if you care. You can figure out everything else, there are Youtube videos for that. You just have to show up because these kids expect you to be there for them.