“I was under a year old when I came here from Mexico. When I got older, I started realizing I couldn’t do a lot of things just because of the fact that I wasn’t born here.”
The United States is the only home Octavio has ever known. Like any teenager, he had dreams—to attend college, to become a professional soccer player. But his legal status stood in his way. Then DACA changed Octavio’s life.
Announced by President Obama in 2012, the program protected Octavio from deportation and allowed him to obtain a driver’s license, a social security number, and work authorization. “Once I got DACA, I felt relief. I could now do small things like getting an ID or driver’s license, something I wasn’t allowed to do before.”
Since then, IIBA has helped Octavio complete his DACA renewal paperwork and pay the $495 government fee every two years.
Meanwhile, Octavio focused on pursuing his goals. He attended Chico State University, studying exercise physiology and graduating with a bachelor’s degree, then he signed his first professional soccer contract with Sacramento Republic.
But Octavio did not stop at realizing his own dreams. He wanted to help other young people do the same. This past March, Octavio founded the nonprofit East Bay Futbol Club, which helps empower and support disadvantaged youth in the Bay Area.
“I started East Bay FC as my way of giving back to the community,” Octavio said. “I know a lot of kids are going through the same thing I went through growing up. Most kids here don’t think about college, similar to me as a kid, and I want to help get them prepared for that next step.”