Being a student-athlete is no easy feat. In Downey Unified School District (DUSD), athletes must balance classes, practice, and workouts throughout their day, as well as competitions against other schools and districts. What makes Downey Unified’s athletic programs some of the best is the trust and bond athletes have with one another; as well as how coaches in DUSD instill important pillars of character in their athletes. 

Xavier Rivas, an athlete at Downey High School, states that one of his favorite feelings about being in a sport is, “The camaraderie, the trust and brotherhood we have with each other; not only are we brothers and friends on the field but we are also brothers and friends off of the field.” He continued by sharing that, “sometimes, we have some kids sleeping over at each other’s houses to get to practice and school.” Warren High School athlete Shane Cassidy believes that, “What makes a team work well together has to be the brotherhood bond that you create.” Even though Downey and Warren High compete against one another as rivals, they still demonstrate similar core values and belonging.

Coaches in Downey Unified are a key part of what makes the programs great. Coaches not only make athletes great, but also teach them to be a trustworthy, respectful and responsible teammate. In Downey Unified, student athletes are taught not only to build trust and community with their teammates, but build character values such as self-discipline, hard work, and responsibility; qualities that are expected to be maintained both inside the classroom and on the field. David Perez, athlete at Downey High School, states that, “Our coaches always tell us that we should be sitting in the front, turning in all of our work and I think that the teachers hold us to the same standard that they [coaches] do because they want what’s best for us.” Coaches in Downey Unified want what is best for each of their players because ultimately, they reflect the culture of the school communities. These athletes represent their schools wherever they go, whoever they play against, which is why coaches ensure that athletes are taught sportsmanship and fair play.   

Current, past, and new athletes in Downey Unified will all agree that participating in sports is an unforgettable experience. Being a student athlete leads to better discipline, social outreach, and a clearer mind. Although managing being a full-time student and athlete can be demanding, the second family a student can build, along with the knowledge and maturity gained, are experiences that can be cherished forever.

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To learn more about Athletics in Downey Unified, see student athletes in action, and hear about their personal experiences as student athletes, visit To attend a game in person, see our high school event calendar pages for Downey High School and Warren High School.

*Written by Brandon Diaz, DHS student and Communications Summer Intern

*Video produced and edited by Genesis Astorga, DHS student and Communications Summer Intern