South Bronx United’s 4th Annual Literacy Day to be held on May 3rd

BRONX, NY – South Bronx United will be holding its fourth annual Literacy Day on Saturday, May 3rd.  The event is held in conjunction with the South Bronx United Recreational Soccer Program that serves 430 boys and girls, between the ages of 4 and 16.

Read-aloud circles will be held between 9am and 12pm.  Children ages 4 to 10 sit with their soccer teams and listen to soccer-related stories.  The circles will be conducted by coaches and by high school students who are part of the SBU Academy and compete on South Bronx United’s travel soccer teams.    This year’s featured books will come from the World Soccer Legends Series, the first series of books for young readers about the world’s leading soccer players and teams.  The books will be featured during the read-aloud circles and awarded to select youth to take home free.  Books from the series have been generously donated by Abbeville Press.   Previous featured books have included The Wild Soccer Bunch (Sole Books), Mia Hamm’s Winner’s Never Quit, and Jolly Blast: Soccer, a Universal Sport.

In addition to the reading circles, older students will engage in article discussion groups and hundreds of free children and adult books will be distributed free to children and parents, courtesy of donors including Girl Scout Troop 1532 Heart of the Hudson.  South Bronx United is still collecting books to give back to children.  Last year over 500 books were donated to South Bronx children and families.

If you have books you can donate, please bring to Macombs Dam Field (across from Yankee Stadium, map to 1 E 161st Street, Bronx, NY 10451) on Saturday, April 26th between 9am and 2pm, or contact us at or (718) 404-9281.

South Bronx United is a nonprofit youth development organization serving nearly 600 boys and girls in the community through education, mentoring, leadership development, and soccer programs.  Using soccer as a vehicle for social change, South Bronx United helps youth build character, teamwork, and leadership so that they can succeed in high school, college, careers, their community and beyond.  The organization strives to promote educational achievement, health and wellness, and character development through activities on and off the soccer field and to unite a diverse group of individuals and an incredibly diverse community toward common positive goals.  For more information, please visit


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4th Annual Literacy Day on May 3rd

On May 21st, 2011, South Bronx United held its first Literacy Day. The formula was simple. Youth from the U15, U17, and U19 travel teams read soccer related books to South Bronx United members ages 4-10. Meanwhile, over 500 free books were distributed to children and parents. Gracious donors like Kiwi Magazine, Half-Price books, and others ensured a successful function. While the formula has remained virtually unchanged, the scale and scope of the event grown at an impressive rate.

In year two, Half-Price books and Kiwi Magazine returned with another round of wonderful donations. Mia Hamm’s “Winner’s Never Quit” was the storytime book that kept all the children interested. Once again, children left with a greater passion for reading, and a handful of new books to take home.

Year three brought about recognizable expansion. In addition to Kiwi Magazine, the New York Public Library contributed a large and generous donation. Furthermore, 2013 Literacy Day featured a raffle held hourly to distribute prizes and featured books. This unprecedented growth generated well over 500 donations, and set a new standard for Literacy Day.

And now, South Bronx United prepares for its fourth annual literacy day. With higher expectations and an overwhelming amount of support from our community, this will undoubtedly be our most successful event thus far. Abbeville Press has donated books from its “World Soccer Legends Series” to appear as this year’s featured storytime book, allowing the children of SBU to hear the stories of their soccer idols. Meanwhile, donors like the Lower Westchester Girl Scout group have contributed over 200 books toward our cause. We look forward to reading to, and with the members of the South Bronx United community; and we anxiously await the looks of glee as a child wins a book about his favorite footballer. Please spend May 3rd, 2014, with the SBU family and enjoy the pictures of Literacy Days past.

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Alumni Spotlight: My First Semester in Albany

By Henry Adjei Kwarteng

After finishing my experience with South Bronx United last June, I went to Albany, New York to continue my education and soccer career at Sage College.  My first semester in college didn’t go the way I had planned.

I went to school early because of the soccer season.  I had trained so hard in the summer to play college soccer. I was ready to play and planned to do everything I could to make the team.  I was among twenty freshman soccer players who came for the tryout, which means that there was not enough space for everybody.

As it turned out, my first training session became one of my worst days on the field ever.  My ankle was injured by my teammate. It happen during practice, I was running with the ball at a fast pace and he came to slide tackle me.  At first, it did not seem too serious, and I continued practicing because I really wanted to play.

The next day the athletic trainer told me I could not play for months. Because I wanted to make the roster, I did not tell my coach and went on to practice the next day.  That is when things got worse. My injury worsened and my coach told me I would be out for rest of the season because of my injury.  This was devastating. As time went on, I could not walk. I had to go to the hospital and the athletic trainer almost every day.

On the positive side, I realized that soccer was not everything.  Apart from not playing soccer, my semester went great.  I had a chance to meet new friends and my classes went great.  The only difficult class was Chemistry. As time went on, I was able to understand everything and my grades in that class were very good.  My average grade in my Chemistry started around 60 percent, but with hard work and regular reading, it increased to 80 percent.

Overall, I adapted to college life easily.  College is a fun place to be.  It is hard work but in the end it helps you develop. College helped me prepare for the future in terms of work experience, communication, getting to meet different people, and learning a lot about different cultures.  Sage College helps you get the whole college experience. I really like my school because of the help and support they give me in, and even outside class. Tutoring section also helps me a lot. Sage reminds me of South Bronx United, because SBU gave me the same help as Sage is giving me.  What I have learned is that, I need to be myself and stay strong in whatever I believe in.  Nobody can be better that me.  The only person who can be better than me is myself.

This semester is already better than my first.  I am already thinking of next year, when I am hoping to come out strong and make the soccer team. I know I can be better with practice and hard work. In my academics, I will continue to work hard to excel in all my classes. I am always looking forward to the future and my next semester in college. I always want to do my best and prove people wrong.

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My First Season with SBU!

Angel ReyesMy name is Angel Reyes.  I am 12 years old.  I am in 7th grade.  I am an Mexican-American.  I was born in the United States but my parents are from Mexico.  I have lived in the Bronx since I was born.

I love to play soccer.  It is my favorite sport, and my dream to become a professional soccer player.  I joined South Bronx United last year playing in the recreational league. Then, after recreational league, it was another level for me to join the South Bronx United travel team. It was like a dream to join the travel team, because I never had played with a club that would make me big.  I started playing with the SBU travel team this summer 2013, and I was in the starting 11. I just said to myself this is an opportunity to play because I worked so hard to be in this team. I said I deserve it.

When the games started in September, my coach had put me in defense.  Defense is not really my position.  Really it is center midfield.  I just decided to play defense anyways and it went pretty well. My team won the first game with a score of 12-0. I was so glad for my first win. Then as the other games came , my team gave it all and won all the matches until the last game.  We tied with 2nd place who had 24 points, and we ended up losing. I said blush. My life was over. I couldn’t just stop thinking of what had happened. If we won, my team could gotten to go to the 1st division. But unfortunately we lost and came in 2nd place. So sad but I said thank you Jesus for letting me play with this team even though we could won but got the loss. So  next season, my team and I hope to go to the 1st division.

Next season, I will try to improve my techniques. Also I would like to improve my speed as a defender because you need it in order to stop an attacker who might be faster than you. Another thing I would like to work on is my health, like my body weight.  I want to be like Yaya Toure or Gerard Pique who are good defenders. They inspire me to work more and achieve what I want to be.

Most of all, I hope my team and I  stay positive, play professionally, and win championships that will make us the best team of the city!!!

U13 Team

My Team: SBU U13 Boys

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South Bronx United and Downtown United Soccer Club (DUSC) Join Forces to host City Showcase Tournament

NEW YORK, NY – January 2, 2014 –  South Bronx United and Downtown United Soccer Club (DUSC), two of New York City’s premier soccer programs, have partnered to host the 2014 City Showcase Tournament.  The tournament aims to expand collegiate opportunities for youth soccer players from the New York City metropolitan area and beyond through high-level competition in front of college coaches and an informational symposium for student-athletes.  In particular, the showcase provides a platform for inner city and minority youth who are underrepresented in higher education and college soccer.  Coaches attending represent all athletic levels from the NCAA, NAIA, and NJCAA from throughout the region, state, and city.

The two-day event will be held on the Friday and Saturday prior to Easter (April 18th -19th) on Randall’s Island.  The island, connecting the Bronx, Manhattan, and Queens via the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge (formerly the Triborough Bridge), features numerous turf and grass soccer fields.

For the first time, the City Showcase Tournament will feature an off the field program with a Student-Athlete Symposium on College Prep and Recruiting.  In partnership with the City University of New York Athletic Conference (CUNYAC), the clubs plan to offer an evening event to give all participating youth the chance to hear from a diverse panel of college coaches and representatives, to learn more about both the academic, financial, and athletic aspects of college and recruitment, and to network together.

Zak Ivkovic, Executive Director of the CUNY Athletic Conference said, “We are excited to support South Bronx United and DUSC for the City Showcase Tournament, an excellent event that will benefit high school soccer players and teams in the area.  We look forward to helping high school student athletes learn about the opportunities that await them at the City University of New York campuses as well as schools across the country.”

Both South Bronx United and DUSC represent the diversity of New York City.  South Bronx United is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to use soccer as a vehicle for social change in, statistically, the nation’s poorest congressional district. Through educational programs, mentoring, health and wellness promotion, social support services, and recreational and competitive soccer than serve nearly 600 boys and girls, South Bronx United aims to help youth build character, teamwork, and leadership so that they can succeed in high school, college, careers, their community and beyond.  Also a nonprofit organization, DUSC’s mission is to educate, train and inspire youth soccer players of all ages and abilities in a positive, respectful, supportive environment, and to foster a community that reflects the diversity of New York City in which children can develop a lifelong love for the beautiful game and realize their full potential as both players and people.   Both organizations are members of the Cosmopolitan Junior Soccer League and the Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association.  DUSC is also a member of the Eastern Development Program (EDP) league through US Club Soccer.

This is the 5th year of the event, previously known as the South Bronx United College Showcase Tournament, which has attracted teams from across the city, the surrounding counties, New Jersey, and Connecticut.  Team registration is open to boys and girls teams at the U15, U16, U17, and U19 age groups.  The team registration fee is $450.  College coaches interested in attending should pre-register online. For more information, please visit

City Showcase Tournament –
South Bronx United –
Downtown United Soccer Club –

(718) 404-9281
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What to Expect in College

By Kafoumba Doumbia

I am a 2013 high school graduate and now a freshman at the University of Maine at Farmington. After my exciting life at South Bronx United as a student athlete, I found myself in the middle of an unfamiliar place and where I will pursue the rest of my education.

It is another milestone for me. My first day in United States; my first day in high school, and now my first day in college facing the biggest part of my life.  I am here for the challenge I have prepared for.  I have been waiting for this moment for so long, and I bet most high school students have also waited for this.  College is not just a place to study and get an education, it is also a place to get to know yourself and better your personality.

Discovering your passion. I started college this fall hoping to learn and grow as much as I can. I never knew that learning could be so exciting until I took my first computer science class. I was impressed to see myself writing programs that tell the computer exactly what to do. I almost feel like I have some sort of magic power to make the computer do things. One of the first things I learned about was game design. I created a soccer game from scratch. I worked on a project with some classmates to create game on processing that might be formatted for iOS. I originally thought computer science was only about programing but it’s more than that. It involves a variety of topics such as analysis and design of algorithms, formal design techniques, design of programming languages, software engineering.

I decided to study computer science because I was interested in Math and Science, and more importantly I wanted to do something that would have an effect on how we live in society. I was very curious about how computers work, how to implement data that allows it to do things we, as humans, can do. Even though I was told that computer science is one of the hardest major and that I will suffer doing it, I convinced myself that I can anything if I put myself into it. When I look at around me, I cannot imagine anything that is relevant in our society that is not related to computers. Computer science, in my opinion, is part of just about everything that touches our lives from the cars we drive, to the movies we watch, to the ways businesses and governments deal with us. Understanding different dimensions of computing is part of the necessary skill set for an educated person in the 21st century.  However, I will advise you to follow your heart whatever that major is.  Nothing is impossible if you are willing to put the work into it.

The College Life. College is very different from high school in many different ways. In college, there is no one to tell you study or do your work. The professor will only handle you a syllabus that shows everything you will have to do for the semester and you will have to be responsible enough to get your work done on time. Do not procrastinate. There is so much work to do in college, so much papers to write that if you procrastinate, you will find yourself writing more papers than you did in your entire high school career. Learn to say sometimes and plan your socializing time according to your class and study schedule. Do not go party when you have a morning classes or have homework to get done. Talk to your professor and go to class. The more classes you miss, the more knowledge you miss. Some professor might fail you for missing more than three class time. If you are planning on being late, email your professor at head of time and he will excuse you. I need to be responsible for yourself because there is no mom and dad to hold your hand to school. In college you are free to make your own choice, so make better ones that would not affect you in the long run.

If you are a high school student, this message is for you, challenge yourself by taking higher level classes in math and science if you are planning in majoring in math or science related field. Set a goal for yourself and I know what you want before you start college so you can save time for yourself. Enjoy your time while you are still in high school because college will be a lot more stressful.

Kafoumba preparing for a game with University of Maine-Farmington

I have succeeded my first semester of college. Even though that I was taking higher level courses, I was able to maintain an A in all my classes. I was willing to work as hard as possible can to best student I can be. I understand that it can be sometimes overwhelming and hard, but you can do it. Nothing is impossible.

College life is very fun if you do your work on time and stay top of everything. Work hard in high school and graduate, college has a lot to offer.

Good luck!!


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South Bronx United 3rd Annual Benefit Highlights Stories and Growth

(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 on South Bronx United’s Facebook page.

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

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South Bronx United to honor Claudio Reyna at its 3rd Annual Benefit


South Bronx United is holding it’s Third Annual Benefit on November 12 at The Lounge at WeWork (154 Grand Street in Manhattan).  Doors open at 7 pm.  The evening will include an open bar and hors d’oeuvres, courtesy of Lapostolle Wines, Bronx Brewery, and Lavazza, and a silent and live auction.  The New York Yankees are also among the event sponsors.  Radio personality and former ESPN 98.7 host Jared Max will serve as the evening’s MC.

South Bronx United will be honoring Claudio Reyna, a former captain of United States Men’s National Soccer Team and currently the Director of Football Operations for New York City FC.  Claudio’s 14-year career took him to top teams in Germany, Scotland, and England, including 4 years with Manchester City 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.

Every year, South Bronx United serves nearly 600 youth in the community through soccer, education, mentoring, and youth development programming.  Its 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 united a diverse group of individuals and an incredibly diverse community toward common positive goals.  At the benefit, the organization will be celebrating and sharing the results and progress it has seen with youth participants over the past year. In the past three years, 100 percent of seniors in the program graduated high school and 93 percent have enrolled in college. In comparison, the graduation rate in the South Bronx overall is just 56 percent.

Tickets for the evening start at $85 and $100, with all proceeds going towards youth programming. Full details are available at  Businesses interested in sponsoring or advertising should inquire by emailing or calling (718) 404-9281.

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The Student Teaches The Teacher

by Janelle Mallen

I rarely find myself at a loss for words, especially when writing about my own personal experiences… until now.

To try and sum up my experience with SBU through a brief summary has proven to be entirely impossible. SBU helped me mature and grow in so many ways that it would be unfair to narrow it down to a mere few examples, (which writing this blog has forced me to do). I will attempt to do this summer and the kids of SBU some justice.

After starting my Senior year at Hunter College, I knew I would be graduating with a major in Sociology and applying for graduate school for social work was lingering around the corner. I also I knew I wanted to start gaining work experience that would help further my abilities in the social work field. As fate would have it, I came across a posting for South Bronx United and knew it was the perfect combination of athletics, education and social change.

Throughout my life, I have lived in seven different States spanning from coast to coast: I have attended school in the suburbs of Southern California, rural countryside of Maine, and most recently, the “big city” of Manhattan. All of these different environments have given me a sensible understanding of various socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds, yet when I was chosen for a summer internship with South Bronx United, I suddenly questioned if I truly knew what I was getting myself into.

Initially, I was under the impression that my mentor duties would be that of a social worker; I figured I would shadow the real deal, while getting to know the kids and become involved in their home life through conversations with their parents. When I realized I was sadly mistaken, and would actually be in charge of creating a counselor inspired class with actual lesson plans to help students ‘discover themselves’, I was terrified.

I quickly learned the skills necessary to create my lesson plans, and found I could actually see myself pursuing some for of teaching one day. My confidence continued to increase as each lesson plan became better than the last. One of my favorite lessons was during career week: we gave the kids a career aptitude test that would help give them an idea of a career path they would possibly be interested in. Many of the students seemed sincerely engaged and wanted to know more. I was unprepared for the massive flow of additional information requested so I decided to let anyone interested in more information write their name down and what they would like to know. More than 1/3 of the class wrote their names down and I happily found myself taking extra steps to provide the resources many of the kids were clearly interested in finding out about.

Another great memory for me was the first day of class. I was getting to know the students by name and was determined to know every SBU student by the end of the first week. One young girl introduced herself as “Jennifer”, so I called her that for the rest of the day. ‘Jennifer’ sprained her ankle later that day in practice and much to my chagrin, I learned her name was actually Crystal; I had been pranked on the very first day.

During the following weeks, I began to build a relationship with Crystal. Though my ego was slightly bruised in the beginning, we began talking briefly, gradually increasing as time went on. By the end of the program Crystal was starting to recover and needed to push herself. Some people were unaware that for a year up until one month before joining the SBU team, I was receiving painful injections (amongst other treatments) for herniated discs in my back, and was uncertain if I would be able to coach, let alone play sports as I had just a couple years ago. Crystal and I began running the field at the beginning of practices, pushing each other to keep going until we had reached our set goal.

While Crystal was just one part of my SBU experience, it was an important one: Crystal helped to push me out of my comfort zone and not give up with her (even though admittedly I felt a bit foolish in the beginning). She also helped spark a passion within me that I had almost forgotten existed – a passion for competition and the sport- and a drive to constantly push yourself to the next level. While I began to understand the impact I could actually make on the kids in SBU, the kids were making an impact me.

When a person can partake in meaningful work, it makes working seem like something we wouldn’t generally call work. Every day I woke up at an abnormally early hour for my typical schedule, hopped on three subways to make my commute to the Bronx, and I loved every minute of it. The relationships I have built with both students and co-workers over the last two months have been truly incredible, and I will cherish them forever. I am beyond excited to continue my work with SBU for the remainder of my adventure in New York, however much longer it may be.

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Inaugural SBU Charity Cup Raises Crucial Funds for Youth Programs

SBU Charity Cup[Bronx, NY] – On Saturday, August 17th, twelve adult soccer teams came together in the shadow of Yankee Stadium to raise over $9,000 for South Bronx United’s youth development programs, which combine with academic support, college prep, and mentoring with soccer programs to serve 600 community youth.

The inaugural SBU Charity Cup, organized by the South Bronx United Junior Board, featured a full day of games in a 7v7 format and featured a variety of teams including a team of SBU  volunteers, the New York Red Bulls’ Vikings Supporters Club, and PlaySoccer2Give, a local nonprofit that promotes pickup soccer for purposes of charity.  Four South Bronx United alumni had the tough task of refereeing the tournament.

The event was generously sponsored by the New York Red Bulls, Westchester Square Physical Therapy, The Royal, Citadel Security Agency, National Discount Tires, and Score Sports.

At the end of the day, the Fighting Pelicans emerged with the Championship Cup after a full slate of games and hard fought victory of Chillingsworth AC in the finals.  Thank you to all the participants, supporters, volunteers, and sponsors for making it a great first event. To see all the photos from the event visit the South Bronx United Facebook Page.

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