Olympic Athlete Spotlight - Athletes for Hope

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Olympic Athlete Spotlight

Former Brazilian soccer star is helping create a special future in Arizona 

Growing up in Brazil, Alessandra “Alex” Sachs felt a sense of community from an early age. The future Brazilian Women’s Soccer Olympian would play soccer on the blacktop with groups of boys. At six years old, she was one of the youngest players and the only girl participating. 

Alex enjoyed running for the ball and fighting for position on the blacktop. 

Today, this same fiery passion has her fighting for her community in Arizona. She felt a sense of purpose on the blacktop, then on the field, and now she finds purpose in helping others. 

Alex Sachs poses for a photo with the Phoenix Suns mascot, a gorilla, at a Suns 88 event.

“Throughout my career, I have always volunteered or helped out in some capacity, but when I was accepted to Valley Leadership and Suns 88, I realized that I could be a catalyst for change,” Alex said. “A great opportunity for my actions and my voice to make a positive impact in my community.”

Valley Leadership is a non-profit organization that is built around empowering Arizonans to become leaders in the community. Meanwhile, Suns 88 raises money for children in the region. 

As an Olympian and a Brazilian Soccer Hall of Fame inductee, Alex has developed a platform through which she can help others. Her goal was never solely to succeed in sport, but to make an impact outside of soccer as well. 

“Aryton Senna inspired me,” Alex said. “Even with him gone 29 years, I still feel his presence. He taught me to be an advocate, a humanitarian, and a proud Brazilian.”

She has fulfilled each of these missions. 

Alex has worked throughout Arizona to help many different groups, including partnering with United Healthcare to create an “all girls soccer day” or beautifying Title 1 elementary school playgrounds alongside Playworks Arizona. 

Alex Sachs smiles while opening up a paint during a community service event with Playworks Arizona

Today, she works with Special Olympics Arizona and Law Enforcement Torch Run to promote a sense of camaraderie between law enforcement and community members. 

Alex’s trajectory from a premier soccer icon to an established advocate and activist is living proof that a goal and drive can be used as tools to better the world around us. 

The same girl that was the only female on the blacktop now runs camps and clinics where dozens of 4th and 5th-grade girls are introduced to soccer and receive gear to further their journeys within the sport. 

It is not just the youth she is helping, though. 

“Look around you and see what is happening in your community,” Alex said. “An example is I realized that many seniors in my community were isolated and lonely, so I create through my work at SPD and in partnership with the Via Linda Senior Center a Senior Walking Club. There is no better feeling than seeing another human being smile and say thank you.”

Alex Sachs smiles behind a table full of collected non perishable items

Pride and passion go hand in hand and Alex personifies the potential for athletes to be the change they wish to see in the world. 

From the community in Brazil to communities throughout Arizona, Alex is leaving a legacy that far surpasses her impressive career resume. All it took was a vision.