(New York, NY) – On Tuesday, more than 200 guests filled The Lounge @ WeWork in SoHo to attend South Bronx United’s Third Annual Benefit and to honor a United States soccer legend, Hall of Famer Claudio Reyna. The evening raised over $50,000 in funds for the nonprofit organization. The funds will go toward its youth development programs that use soccer to reach nearly 600 children and youth in the community, particularly those from immigrant families. South Bronx United’s services provide academic support, college and SAT prep, mentoring, immigration consultations, and other social services.
Guests enjoyed an informative and sometimes humorous interview of Mr. Reyna, conducted by the evening’s Master of Ceremony Jared Max, an award-winning sports radio personality, formerly of ESPN Radio and WCBS 880. They briefly reminisced on both growing up playing soccer in New Jersey before discussing the growing popularity of the sport in the United States, the start of Major League Soccer’s newest franchise New York City FC, and the impact that South Bronx United is having in the community.
Mr. Reyna is currently the Sporting Director for New York City FC, the newest Major League Soccer franchise which begins play in 2015. His 14-year career took him to top teams in Germany, Scotland, and England, including Manchester City, Sunderland, Bayer Leverkusen, Wolfsburg, and Glasgow Rangers, before returning home to finish his career with the New York Red Bulls. He also appeared 111 times and in three World Cups for the United States. In 2012, Claudio was inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame. He is the founder of the Claudio Reyna Foundation, whose mission is to inspire underserved youth in urban communities with positive experiences through soccer, education and community involvement in hopes of growing healthy bodies, minds and spirits.
The highlight of the evening, however, was South Bronx United’s alumni speaker Miguel Hernandez. Hernandez, 19, spoke emotionally about his life growing up in Honduras, his tumultuous journey to the Bronx, and how “SBU” has changed his life by giving him hope. His speech was preceded by a video by Starry Eyed Productions that neatly portrayed the organization’s impact of South Bronx youth.
Two Sigma Investments, InterFysio, the Bronx Brewery, Lapostolle Wine, and Ron Abuelo Anejo sponsored the event. The New York Yankees are proud supporters of the organization. A number of other restaurants, businesses, and individuals made donations that provided food and items for the silent and live auctions. Photos from the evening can be viewed at www.facebook.com/southbronxunited.
South Bronx United’s mission is to help youth build character, teamwork, and leadership skills so that they can succeed in high school, college, careers, their community and beyond, and to unite a diverse group of individuals and an incredibly diverse community toward common positive goals. To learn more about South Bronx United and its programs, visit www.southbronxunited.org.