Back to top

Leaders of unites #5 yueliza gonzalez

My mom has done very well as a single mom and I think she is proud of the person I have become!
My name is Yueliza Figuereo Gonzalez and I am 20 years old. Currently, I live in Zwolle with my mother, 14-year-old sister and 12-year-old brother. I was born in Amsterdam, where I used to live on the Kinkerstraat. Back then, we often visited my family in Kraaiennest, in the middle of the Bijlmer neighborhood. I remember this Dominican bar nearby where we often came for some good food. We played outside a lot, hung out on the streets, but also played games. I have been playing basketball since I was eight, but unfortunately I will have to take a gap year from the sport due to health problems.

Growing up, the relationship between my father and my mother was very difficult and unstable. As a result, we moved around a lot. When I was six I promptly had to leave Amsterdam. Together with my mother we relocated to Leeuwarden, which was the first option available to us. The switch from the lively center of Amsterdam to the quiet village of Stiens near Leeuwarden took some adjusting. Fortunately, we had a very nice neighborhood, where we often played games with all the kids that lived there. I knew every alleyway, garden, and creeks. We often went swimming in the lakes, and we played football on the lawns.

Na verloop van tijd probeerden mijn ouders hun relatie een nieuwe kans te geven, maar dit ging weer mis. Hierdoor moesten we opnieuw verhuizen en zijn we in Zwolle terecht gekomen. Daar wonen we nu al 12 jaar. Ik vind Zwolle de perfecte combinatie van Amsterdam en Leeuwarden samen. Je hebt delen in Zwolle die heel rustig zijn, waar je lekker kan lopen door de natuur, maar het centrum is toch wel goed druk.

Tegenwoordig is het contact tussen mijn vader en mij erg wisselvallig. Soms gaat het goed en op andere momenten gaat het wat minder. In het begin vond ik dit erg lastig om mee om te gaan. Ik was jong en ik vond het moeilijk om mijn gevoelens te uiten.

Currently, the contact between my father and me is very precarious. Sometimes it is great and at other times it is difficult. In the beginning, it was very hard for me to deal with. I was young and I had trouble expressing my feelings. I am not really talkative when it comes to my emotions, so I ended up looking for another outlet. In the end, basketball has helped me a lot. I have learned to express my feelings, but also to control them. My mom has done very well as a single mom and I think she is proud of the person I have become!

Now, I have control over my own personal growth
During the season I am invested in 5 against 5 basketball, but 3X3 is also very important to me. It gives me heaps of freedom and I can show a lot of myself, discover new things and experiment. 5 against 5 is a different structure. You do not get a lot of freedom, because you have a certain role to play in a team, either because of your height or because of your skills. For example, in 5 against 5 I like to play the passing game, get my teammates involved. In 3X3 however, I love those one-on-one matchups! It has also shown me that I can go my own way and am allowed to be myself.

For me, 3X3 Unites as a foundation represents togetherness. Many people in the community live throughout the country, the world even, but if we are together, we are really together. That is one of the best feelings, knowing that you belong somewhere. Thinking of myself only two years ago, I never thought I would be here now. Now, I have control over my own personal growth.

One of my strengths is my ability to create situations where people feel at home and welcome. I was able to develop this by means of 3X3. In addition, I have learned to be more independent, and supervise others, instead of always following.

I used to be more of a follower, but after my Leader Course at 3X3 Unites I am confident enough to step up and claim my responsibility.

I found my place at 3X3 Unites
When it comes to my dreams for the future, I think I have found my place! What 3X3 Unites does, I have been looking for something like that for a very long time. Combining basketball as a sport, whilst also pursuing a social purpose. Hopefully, I can continue to grow and obtain my own spot within the foundation, because letting go of the basketball is definitely not an option. I would love to put more effort into training girls in basketball and maybe follow that path, with the ultimate goal of a 3X3 Pro League for women!

Another big dream of mine is to bring 3X3 Unites, and all their knowledge, to the Dominican Republic. That truly is my country and I would be very happy if I could develop the activities there and instruct and train the people. When I think about the future, I am really looking forward to it! I think if I keep my dreams in sight, I can make them come true!