Copa Crew is the only girls 15 and under and 12 and under basketball team representing the city of Maricopa.
The name may seem like just a nod to the city of Maricopa. But Copa is also an acronym of “Characters of Positive Attitude,” which sums up the reason behind the creation of the team almost two years ago.
Diana (Dee) Estrada said she and her husband Jesse thought there wasn’t enough in Maricopa to keep the local children occupied, so they started Copa Crew as a way to help provide structure and togetherness. Beginning with six girls, they now have 22 on the roster.
In addition, during the school year the coaches make sure each girl is keeping up in school by conducting periodic grade checks. “If they want to be on the team, they have to prove to us that they can do it academically,” Estrada said earlier.
“We just wanted to keep them out of trouble,” she said.
The traveling team operates year-round, practicing on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at Maricopa Wells Middle School. On Saturdays everyone is out for a mile run.
The team has played in local tournaments around Maricopa and in the Valley, but in July they are headed to their first out-of-state tourney.
The team holds fundraisers, but Estrada hopes to draw more support from the community and local businesses. “I don’t think a lot people know that we’re here,” she said.
”With the economy being what it is I am more determined now than ever to keep our girls focused and busy during these times. I can provide the time and effort it takes to get these girls ready for their tournaments, but, unfortunately, I cannot afford the cost to place them in upcoming tournaments,” Estrada said.
Tournament fees range from $200-$300 per team. “Any dollar amount will help; no donation is too big or small,” Estrada explained.
“These girls just want to play,” Estrada said.