Local Mexican businessman sells soccer jerseys for all

In pursuit of a better life, Omar Chavez owns his own business in Federal Way.

Score a goal with jerseys and soccer gear from Omar’s Soccer Sports store in Federal Way.

Omar Chavez has owned and operated Omar’s Soccer Sports at 27207 Pacific Hwy S. for 14 years. Chavez started the business in 2009, and since then, he said he and his wife have worked at the store nearly all day, every day.

Chavez’s store mainly sells soccer equipment such as gloves, cleats and custom jerseys for teams. He also sells an array of team jerseys. Chavez said he has merchandise for everyone at his store, with jerseys from teams all over the world. He said he chose to start a soccer sports store because he’s been a dedicated soccer fan and player all of his life.

Chavez is from Ciudad Nezahualcóyotl, a city in Mexico’s capital, “The Federal District,” otherwise known as Mexico City in Mexico. He said where he grew up was very impoverished, and it was not uncommon for people to have no food to eat. That’s why he left Mexico in 1980 when he was 19. He said right away when he came to the U.S., he found many opportunities.

“I came here, and I found a lot of opportunities. That’s what people need to take advantage of,” Chavez said. “Beyond what you came here for, to work and improve your life and lifestyle. To improve everything, especially your economic situation.”

At the time, Chavez was already married to his wife, whom he said he married when they were 17. By the time Chavez left Mexico, he and his wife had two kids, so he went to the U.S. so he could work and send money to his wife. Chavez said he liked Mexico, but Mexico has never had a good economy, so he knew if he wanted a better life for his family, he had to go and work.

Chavez said he spent a short while in California before he moved to Washington because of family. Eventually, his wife and kids came to live with him in the U.S. He said he worked as a fisherman while his family stayed home.

It was in the late 2000s that he and his family moved to Federal Way. Chavez worked construction, but he would also coach soccer at the Federal Way Boys and Girls Club because he had two more kids once he and his wife were united in the U.S.

He worked construction while living in Federal Way until he got hurt on the job in 2008. That same year, he began his business, “Omar’s Soccer Sports Store,” which he said was originally at a shopping strip called “La Plaza” in Kent. He stayed there until about 2015, when he moved to the current location in Federal Way.

Chavez said he likes his store being in Federal Way and has no plans to leave. He has regular customers who know him, and his store has been his livelihood ever since he got hurt. He said owning the sports store has allowed him to live a good life. His four kids now have their own families, so when his kids are working or busy, Chavez said he and his wife have the ability to watch their grandchildren.

In addition to having freedom in the workplace, Chavez said owning his business also allowed him to help his family. He said through the success of his store, he bought a house in Mexico City for his wife’s parents to live in.

He said business isn’t as good as when the store was in its prime, but he’s confident they won’t need to close. That is another reason he won’t leave the location in Federal Way — because people know where he is, and he doesn’t want to lose those customers.

Although the pandemic was hard for Chavez, he said they never closed during the COVID-19 lockdowns. Chavez said he’s always had regular customers coming to his store because he transfers money to other countries. So during the COVID-19 lockdowns, he said he never closed because people would come in to send money to their sick family members abroad.

“If the business would have closed, it would have closed during the pandemic like many businesses did,” Chavez said. “But I held on until the end, and I made it through the big hit of the pandemic.”