Summer Soccer Scholars Study Science, Journalism, and More

SBU Summer Scholars Canoeing at Orchard Beach Lagoon

For the fourth consecutive summer, South Bronx United’s Summer Soccer Scholars took to the classroom, the soccer field, and even the water.  The five-week program served 80 boys and girls, ages 11-18, most of whom participate in the SBU Academy program, and was held at the Urban Assembly School for Careers in Sports on the Mott Haven High School Campus.

Studying for SATsEvery Monday through Thursday, the summer scholars attended three classes, including Environmental Science, Journalism, and Life Skills.  The Life Skills class was offered through a partnership with Changing The Odds at the Morris Heights Health Center and their Teen Outreach Program.  Classes were taught by college interns who spent seven weeks of their summer learning on the job.  The interns, who attended schools including Hunter College, Fordham University, New York University, Colorado College, SUNY Binghamton, and the University of Pennsylvania, took the opportunity to share their college experiences with their SBU students.

Fridays brought field trips that gave scholars the chance to bond and to travel beyond their neighborhoods.  Trips included Coney Island, Bear Mountain State Park, Orchard Beach, Six Flags Great Adventure, and Fordham University pool and field day.  Students with the best attendance for the entire program were rewarded with free tickets to Six Flags Great Adventure Theme Park.

During classes, students produced a program news magazine and participated in service learning through the beautification of the DeVanney Triangle with the Bronx is Blooming.  In Environmental Science, students investigated human’s impact on the environment and experimented through soil and water testing.  The course culminated with a trip to the Tiorati Nature Center at Lake Tiorati, Harriman State Park.  The Bank Street College of Education‘s science director took students on an exploration of the natural environment and led the ensuing discussions.

Many students looked forward most to afternoon soccer training.  This was particularly taxing for many  youth fasted from food and water during the day in observance of Ramadan, the Muslim month of fast which coincided with the first two weeks of the program.  Twice a week, scholars participated in technical-focused soccer trainings.  Each Tuesday and Thursday brought the much anticipated SBU Summer Soccer Scholars World Cup which pitted all the plays on the field against one another.  Nepal prevailed in a hard fought victory 2-1 over Guam in the finals on a stoppage time goal.  For the students, one of the most exciting days involved a surprise visit from Spanish World Cup player David Villa, the star signing of New York City FC, the newest team of Major League Soccer.

Over the next few weeks, check back at sbUNITE! for some first-hand experiences this summer from SBU youth scholars and summer mentors.  South Bronx United thanks everyone who helps make this program possible, including all the summer staff and interns who dedicated their time; individual, corporate, and foundation donors who continue to support SBU; the Urban Assembly School for Careers in Sports and Mott Haven HS Campus; the NYCDOE Office of School Food and Summer Meals Program; Changing the Odds at Morris Heights Health Center; the Bronx is Blooming; New York City FC; Fordham University; Bank Street College of Education; and countless others.

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My Year in Review: SBU Boys U12 Ups and Downs

by Joan Roque, 12

Our team won this trophy from our indoor league.

South Bronx United’s Under-12 Boys had a great year in 2013-2014.  It was our first year as a team. For some of my teammates it was their first year playing for a travel team.  Even though we had some bad games, we became better as a team.  Throughout the season, we had ups and downs.  We would argue and not communicate on and off the field.  But when we trained as a team, our season became a whole lot better, in my opinion.

This spring season, our best and most memorable game was the first.  It was our best game because this was the first time that the team played in Division A.  It was against Brooklyn Juniors.  We were 2-0 down trying to tie it up, but every time we scored they scored too.  In the last 5 minutes of the match we were 4-6 down, but in these 5 minutes we scored three goals winning the match 7-6.  It was memorable because we worked as a team.

Me in a game at Pier 40 (Photo by my brother, Rocky)

But we had downs too.  One of our lowest moments was when we faced DUSC.  We were losing 2-0 and then 3-0.  In the second half we tied it up 3-3, and we scored another so we were winning 4-3.  The worst part was them scoring two goals in three minutes causing us to lose the game.

During those games, I think Samuka was a solid defender even though he usually plays in the midfield.  He saved us a couple of times in games like the opening game with Brooklyn Juniors, and he came in and took the ball away cleanly.  Prince was our top scorer with 39 goals.  I can’t think of a game when he did not score this season.

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2nd Annual SBU Charity Cup Brings Soccer Players to the Bronx while Raising Crucial Funds for South Bronx Youth Program

2014 SBU Charity Cup Champions "Full Turbo" celebrate with three South Bronx United youth.

BRONX, NY – The 2nd Annual SBU Charity Cup was held on Saturday July 12th, bringing out 12 adult soccer teams and 130 players to compete for the purpose of raising money for South Bronx United’s youth soccer, education, mentoring, and health and wellness programs.  Macombs Dam Field at the doorstep of Yankee Stadium provided the perfect venue for the day.   The Charity Cup was organized by the organization’s Junior Board and the SBU Supporters Club, a community actively dedicated to the South Bronx United’s mission of using soccer as a tool for social change by raising awareness, attending events, volunteering and providing financial support.  The day raised over $8,000 for South Bronx United youth programs serving children and youth ages 4-19.

Competing teams including Major League Soccer’s front offices; Third Rail SC, an official New York City FC Supporters Club; and PlaySoccer2Give, a New York City organization that raises money and awareness for soccer-oriented charities through adult soccer games and tournaments.  The games were competitive throughout with both the reigning champions, the Fighting Pelicans, and the SBU Supporters Club team getting knocked out in the group stage on goal difference.  In the championship game, Full Turbo, featuring South Bronx United volunteer coach Ithti Ulit, met With A Vengeance, led by SBU Board Treasurer Wilson Calle and SBU Alum Mingoro Fanny in goal.  Full Turbo prevailed 3-1 in a hard fought match.

Westchester Square Physical Therapy, National Discount Tires and Wheels Bronx, and The Royal NYC all returned as partner sponsors for the the 2014 SBU Charity Cup.  For more information about the annual event, contact info@sbusupporters.org.

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South Bronx United awards $5,000 in College Scholarships

2014 South Bronx United Scholarship Award Recipients Guibel Marino (left) and Aicha Fofana (right) with scholarship committee chair George Nantwi (center)

BRONX, NY – South Bronx United’s college scholarship program recently announced its third year of college scholarship awards.  The awards were presented  after the 2nd annual Graduates vs. Alumni game on June 28th to  two outstanding seniors, Aicha Fofana and Guibel Marino.

Aicha, 17, overcame enormous obstacles to become a high school graduate.  Speaking as valedictorian of Bronx Latin High School, she recently shared some of the challenges as well as the support network she has been fortunate to have.  Fourteen years ago, Aicha’s family fled war-torn Sierra Leone for Guinea on foot.   At that moment it would have been unimaginable that she would be about to attend the City College of New York.  While living with her aunt in the Bronx, Aicha maintained an excellent academic record with a 4.0 and top school rank.  She played on the inaugural SBU girls team and rejoined the program in 2013.  She says, “South Bronx United opens doors for youth like myself who want to be community leaders and provides a platform for their voices to be heard….  I enjoyed exploring cultures and learning from people with contrasting backgrounds.”

The second recipient, Guibel Marino, also 17, will be attending the Rochester Institute of Technology where she intends to major in Industrial and Mechanical Engineering or Applied Mathematics.  She graduated this year from University Prep Charter High School where she had a 3.2 GPA.  Guibel moved from Ecuador when she was 9 years old.  She has been part of South Bronx United and the SBU Rising Stars high school girls soccer team for three years and has also volunteered with the recreational program and U14 girls program.  ”SBU taught me how to build my own strength and personality both on and off the field in the academic, athletic, and social parts of my life,” she says.  ”South Bronx United is my second family….”

Guibel will receive the PlaySoccer2Give scholarship for $1,000 to support educational expenses.  The scholarship is supported through PlaySoccer2Give, an organization that engages the New York City adult soccer community primarily through pickup soccer and soccer tournaments that help build awareness and raise money for charities that use soccer for social good.

Before Aicha and Guibel received their awards, they had they opportunity to take the field alongside fellow SBU female alumni to take on their former teammates, the underclassmen.  Although the female graduates-alumni team won 3-1, the boys game sent a reminder to the 2014 graduates they still have plenty of room to grow over the next few years; In the annual match, the boys alumni defeated the boys graduates, 4-0.

Since 2012, South Bronx United has awarded $15,000 in college scholarship to provide financial support to SBU graduates to help them attend college.  All nine recipients are still studying for their Bachelor’s Degrees at private and public colleges throughout New York state.  In addition to the new PlaySoccer2Give scholarship this year, the SBU scholarship fund is primarily supported by individuals.  If you would like to support the fund, donations are accepted at southbronxunited.org/donate.  For questions, please email info@southbronxunited.org.

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My Season in Review: SBU 00 la Furia Azul

Me (center) with my teammates Alexis and Isaac

by Angel Reyes, 13

Our U13 boys team “La Furia Azul” had a fun and challenging spring season. Our team was focused and determined to play hard through out the 10-game season. It wasn’t easy, but our team coach, Jvon had plans to improve and motivate us to become strong players. Our team had eight losses and two amazing games that we successfully won. It was rough losing, but as team captain, partnered with my co-captain, Mohammed Kouruma, we had pushed our team to think positively and play with confidence.  Since the first game me and my team have improved from the beginning to the last game of the season.

Aside from our losses, there were good things that happened. For instance our team was given an extra two minutes in the game against Chelsea Pier after we scored to tie the game two-two. We were focused on winning game when I got the ball from a kick-off and made a turn to a striker, Cisse. He was in the corner asking for the ball. I kicked the ball to him.  He shot the ball in the goalie box in front of four defenders.  GOAL!  The score was now three-two and the referee whistled the game to an end. Overall, It was a stunning game win by our team.

Warming up before a game in Brooklyn

I would have to say that my teammate who did his best this season was Alexis Vidal, the goalie of our team. For example, in another game we were tied two-two were determined to win. The ball was passed to a striker who was going to kick it past our goalie.  All of a sudden, Alexis ran to the striker and as soon as the player was about to shoot he passes and Alexis blocks the goal. It was an intense moment because the opponent’s pass had led us to believe that they were going to score.  All the same our team had won.

Another memorable moment came during the last game of our season.  We were losing 2-0 and caught up to tie the game.  In the end we lost 3-2 from what I think was an error made by the referee. But after the game ended, our coach saw the hard work we put in the game and that we never gave up.

Next year, besides winning, I want my team to work harder and think smarter so that we will become a better team!

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My Year in Review: SBU 97 Strikers

SBU 97 Strikers at the New England Soccer Classic

by Gnim Bazim, 16

South Bronx United 97 Strikers experienced an unforgettable year.  Being named team captain for the 2013/2014 season, its been with great honor to lead and help our team through the year.  Even though we had an early exit from the East New York State Cup, we still managed to seize 2nd place in the CJSL A- Division.  To end our year we did something that no other team in SBU’s history had done: take a four day trip to Cape Cod, Massachusetts.  I personally can say with the things we experienced as a team, we have grown tremendously throughout the year, as soccer players and as young men.

We had a brief, but enjoyable Fall season. We played a total of 6 games, we had a record of 2 wins, 2 losses and 2 ties.  We could have done much better, but from those results we eventually were able to learn from our mistakes to help us with our spring season.

Two weeks before the start of our spring season game opener, our coach organized a team meeting in which we discussed our goals and objectives for the coming spring season as a team and as a family.  Coach Andrew told us about Sophomore Skills, the new educational program that 10th graders would have to attend.  Juniors in the team were required to attend SAT Prep.  In order to play, we would have to maintain good attendance at the programs.  More exciting,  he discussed our trip to Cape Cod.  After the meeting, my teammates and I had our minds set on taking 1st place in the CJSL league, going further into State Cup, and also going to Cape Cod to win the Memorial Day tournament, but most importantly have a wonderful life experience.

Everyone was excited the start of our spring season.  We began with two straight 4-0 wins, one in our league game opener and the other in our state cup opener, and we could see how great of a team we were becoming. Unfortunately we were unable to continue our success in the next two State cup matches and were eliminated in the group rounds. We were disappointed but we still had a lot to look forward to.  The team continued to work hard and show great results in the league.  We were undefeated for a while and had a chance to clinch 1st place but failed to do so with a disappointing 1-0 loss to the eventual champions SC Gjoa. We ended the season with a record of 5 wins, 2 ties and just 1 lost and we came in 2nd place. I cant say we were thrilled with coming second but I can say we had played our hardest throughout the season and should be happy with the overall performances we put in, in every game played.

Our trip to Cape Cod, Massachusetts provided the perfect end to the year.  The purpose of the trip was not only to play and try to win the New England Soccer Classic but, even greater, for a chance to experience and get a sense of what life is like somewhere outside the city.  This trip was very meaningful especially to myself because for college I would like to study possibly outside the city or state and this trip allowed me and many of my teammates to get that feeling of what it would be like. On our way to Cape Cod we had stopped at the University of Connecticut (at Storrs) to meet an assistant coach for the men’s soccer team and also meet with the admissions office to give us a tour of UConn’s amazing campus.

My team in Wareham, Massachusetts

Early that evening, we arrived at the beautiful residential beach house that we stayed at in Wareham, Massachusetts.  We were welcomed by Mr and Mrs Wiegandt. They were amazing and caring people who provided  care and hospitality.  We also were welcomed by players from a local high school team in which we interacted with and got to ask questions about Cape Cod.  On Saturday, we visited Massachusetts Maritime Academy. As a club, South Bronx United has visited a numerous amount of different colleges but Massachusetts Maritime Academy was the first college any of us had seen that had a 540 foot troop ship (The TS Kennedy) as part of its school.

After visiting two amazing and astonishing colleges it was time for us to focus on the tournament, where we were playing teams mostly one year older than us in the U17 division.  We managed to make it to the championship game winning against two tough opponents from Massachusetts and Rhode Island, 2-0 and 4-0.  Before the Championship game, on Sunday we had time to ourselves, to study, work on homework, swim in the beautiful beach, sail a boat, play basketball and just relax, which was great. Our last day was the championship.  We were all motivated to win and bring back the cup.   It was going our way for a while, as we scored an early goal making the score 1-0.  However, we conceded a very unlucky goal before going into halftime, making the score 1-1.  The second half began and for a while we were dominating, but in a period of ten minutes we had conceded 3 goals, losing 4-1.  As big of a scoreline 4-1 is, it was actually a very tight game, in which we were unable to seize our opponents. None of us wanted to lose and take home just second place.  But we ended up taking home more than second place: we took home a life changing experience that none of us would ever forget.

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Looking for soccer glory? Enter the SBU Charity Cup

Does World Cup Fever have you yearning to get out on the pitch and play?  The 2014 South Bronx United Charity Cup gives over 160 adults the opportunity to go for glory while supporting Bronx youth programs.   The annual adult soccer tournament, hosted by the SBU Supporters Club, is open to adults of all skill levels and will be held on July 12th at Macombs Dam Field, in the shadow of Yankee Stadium.  The game will proceed the third place game of the World Cup Finals.  All proceeds raised will go to supporting South Bronx United’s youth programs in soccer, education, and mentoring that serve nearly 600 boys and girls in the community.

This year’s tournament will welcome 16 adults teams in a World Cup style format, beginning with round robin groups, followed by semifinals and finals.  Teams will play 7 players a side and can have up to 10 players on the roster.  Additional roster spots can be added for an added fee.   Team registration is $525.  Individuals can also register as “free agents” and be assigned to a team.  All participants and teams will receive game shirts that can be worn as jerseys.  The winners will get to lift the second Charity Cup trophy.

Last year’s Charity Cup raised over $9,000 for South Bronx United’s youth development programs thanks to the participation of 12 teams and multiple sponsors.  The Fighting Pelicans took the championship after a hard fought victory with Chillingsworth AC in the finals.

Team Registration is currently open online until June 10th.  Individuals can still register as free agents until June 15th.   Businesses interested in sponsoring the event are also encourage to contact South Bronx United at info@southbronxunited.org.

The Charity Cup is one of several events hosted by the SBU Supporters club.  Visit the SBU Supporters Club website to learn more about the club and the benefits it offers.  For more information about the SBU Charity Cup or the SBU Supporters Club, email info@sbusupporters.org or call (718) 404-9281.

 

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Announcing the SBU Supporters Club!

 

Get an exclusive scarf by joining the SBU Supporters Club

NEW YORK, NY –  South Bronx United volunteers, coaches, and Junior Board members joined together too launch the new SBU Supporters Club on Saturday.   The launch was held in conjunction with South Bronx United’s annual Champions League Final Viewing Party at the Headless Horseman in Manhattan.

Founding members of the club include three soccer personalities: Broadcaster and New York Red Bulls announcer Shep Messing, United States Women’s National Team and FC Kansas City goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart, and former New York Red Bulls goalkeeper Bouna Coundoul.  Messing was born in the Bronx and served as broadcaster and analyst at the World Cup and Olympics before becoming the announcer for the New York Red Bulls (formerly Metrostars) in 2001.  He is perhaps most renowned for having played alongside Pelé, Franz Beckenbauer and other global legends on the New York Cosmos of the North American Soccer League.  He also served a master of ceremonies for South Bronx United’s Annual Benefit in 2012.

Barnhart is a two-time Olympic gold medalist and appeared in two World Cups with the United States women’s national team.  She currently plays for FC Kansas City in the National Women’s Soccer League.  During his time in New York, Coundoul was known for his flashy personality and flashy saves in goal.  He has also appeared for the Senegal National Team and currently plays professionally in Cyprus.

The SBU Supporters Club is actively dedicated to the organization’s mission of using soccer as a tool for social change by raising awareness, attending events, volunteering and providing financial support.  By contributing $50 a year to join the club ($40 of which is tax-deductible), Supporters gain access to exclusive happy hours, special game tickets, unique volunteer opportunities, discounts to the South Bronx United Annual Benefit and the Charity Cup, and an exclusive SBU Scarf.

The desire the form the club arose out of discussions amongst longtime volunteers, coaches, and Junior Board Members who were looking to harness a passionate soccer based to increase financial support and general awareness for the organization, which serves nearly 600 boys and girls between ages 4 and 19 through soccer, educational, college prep, mentoring, and leadership development programs.  The group aims to reach 100 members by the end of June, says Russ Martonis, SBU Supporters Club President.  To join the club or learn more about its impact on the community, visit sbusupporters.org.

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My take: The 2014 Champions League Finals

by Antonio Flores, 16

Atlético Madrid faces Real Madrid on Saturday in the first ever Champions League Madrid Derby

Atlético Madrid faces Real Madrid on Saturday in the first ever Champions League Madrid Derby

This Saturday’s UEFA Champions League final is going to be one of the best matches of the year.  Its the first time in finals history that there will be a Madrid derby: Real Madrid vs. Atlético Madrid.

Both sides are pretty strong coming into the finals.  Real Madrid has already won the Copa del Rey against Barcelona, and, despite falling out of the title race for La Liga, they are focused on what they must to do beat Atlético.  Atlético Madrid, on the other hand, have just secured their first La Liga championship in 18 years by beating Barcelona.

Real might have some problems with the injuries to star player Cristiano Ronaldo and José Rodriguez.  Also, Xabi Alonso will not be permitted to play due to accumulation of yellow cards.  Atlético may look like they have the slight advantage due to Real’s poor performances the past few weeks, but they will have to deal with Ronaldo.  In spite of his injuries, Cristiano will be driven by his passion and keep his promise to the Madrid fans that he will not fail them again.  Also, the match will be held in Lisbon, Portugal, Cristiano’s home nation, giving Real Madrid and Ronaldo the extra support to defeat Atlético in the finals.

My prediction: Real will win the “la decima”, by winning their tenth Champions League title in this history.

Editor’s Note:  If you are looking for somewhere to watch the game, join the South Bronx United fans, coaches, and volunteers at the SBU Supporters Club launch party and Champions League Viewing Party.  Kickoff is at 2:45 pm at the Headless Horseman, 119 East 15th Street in Manhattan.  See link for more details.  There is no cover, and any proceeds raised for the SBU Supporters Club go right back to South Bronx United’s youth programs.

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South Bronx United Gives Out 1,000 books on Literacy Day

South Bronx United held its fourth annual Literacy Day on Saturday, May 3rd at Macomb’s Dam Field across from Yankee Stadium. The event promotes literacy and the joy of reading.  400 boys and girls between the ages of 4 and 16 participated in reading groups prior to their soccer games.  High school students who participate in the SBU Academy program led reading circles for elementary aged students.

In addition, children and parents had the opportunity to take home free books.  This year’s day was the biggest to date with 1,000 books donated, thanks to Scholastic, Kiwi Magazine, and the Girl Scouts Heart of the Hudson Troop 1532, and numerous individuals.

The World Soccer Legends Series (Abbeville Press, by Illugi Jokulsson) served as this year’s featured book. The eight book series tells the stories of soccer superstars Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, as well as FC Barcelona, Real Madrid, Manchester United, and the United States National Team. Three books from the collection were raffled off each hour, creating excitement with players young and old.  Said 9 year old Alex Reyes, “My friends and I are so excited to read about Messi and Ronaldo!”

Other selected books also include Young Pele: Soccer’s First Star,  A Winning Goal, and Mia Hamm’s Go for Goal! A penalty shootout competition provided an opportunity for young players to show off their skills.

Special thanks to all the contributors, volunteers and families that made the event such a success!

12 year Mohamed Konate summed up the day, “I get to play soccer today, and I won a free book with my favorite player!  And with all these new books to take home I will definitely be reading more.”

View more photos from the event here.  Contact info@southbronxunited.org for information on how to support future events.

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