Summer Soccer Scholars Excel in the Classroom and on the Field

SBU student-athletes during a financial literacy workshop

During five weeks of July and August, South Bronx United’s Summer Soccer Scholars demonstrated that summer isn’t just fun and games.  80 student-athletes, going into grades 6 through 12, tested engineering and physics principles, debated controversial criminal cases, created shorts films, were educated on teen health issues, and refined college essays.   In addition, they competed and trained on the soccer field every afternoon for games and even took to the water during weekly field trips.

The summer scholars attended classes in the mornings every Monday through Thursday.  South Bronx United partnered with the Inwood House to offer the Making Proud Choices teen health curriculum.   Other classes were taught by undergraduate and graduate program interns who spent six summer weeks learning on the job.  The interns–who attend Hunter College, Hofstra University, SUNY Binghamton, Dickinson College, Union College, and New York University–took ample opportunity to share their college experiences with their SBU students.  Additionally, Amanda Berg, a Lewis Hines Documentary Fellow from Duke University assisted in planning and instruction for the filmmaking course.

Students culminated their summer workshops in several ways.  Rising 9th graders held a mock debate at the New York Law School based on the murder case investigated in the Serial podcast series.  Middle school students experimented with final engineering projects that tested the insulating value of various materials.  Several classes shared their final videos.  Rising 10th and 11th graders completed their first practice SAT.

Outside the classroom, students had the opportunity to travel around the metropolitan area every Friday.  They found the beach and entertainment at Coney Island, hiked and swam at Bear Mountain State Park, canoed at Orchard Beach, swam and toured Fordham University, and celebrated at Six Flags Great Adventure.  Students with the best attendance for the duration of the program were rewarded with free tickets to Six Flags Great Adventure Theme Park.  High school students also had the opportunity to tour SUNY Purchase and watch a New York City FC training session, featuring international stars David Villa, Andrea Pirlo, and Frank Lampard.

Many students looked forward most to afternoon soccer training.  The heat took a toll, especially during the first week of the program when many Muslim  youth fasted during the day in observance of the holy month of Ramadan.  However, many players displayed a strong effort on the field.  Twice a week, scholars participated in technical-focused soccer trainings.  Then, each Tuesday and Thursday brought the much anticipated SBU Summer Soccer Scholars World Cup.  The tournament split all the players onto four teams (representing FIFA’s four lowest ranked nations) for a summer long competition.  Team Somalia defeated Team Mongolia on penalty kicks in the finals.

This was the fifth summer that South Bronx United has offered the Summer Soccer Scholars program.  The program was held at Mott Haven High School Campus’ Bronx Leadership Academy II.  Participating students attend schools throughout the Bronx and Northern Manhattan.

South Bronx United thanks everyone who helps make this program possible, including all the summer staff and interns who dedicated their time; BlackRock and Goldman Sachs who specifically support this program with grants, as well as other individual, corporate, and foundation donors who continue to support SBU; Bronx Leadership Academy II, the Urban Assembly School for Careers in Sports, and the Mott Haven HS Campus; the NYCDOE Office of School Food and Summer Meals Program; the Inwood House; the new York Law School; New York City FC; Fordham University; and countless others.

View more photos from the program: Summer Soccer Scholars Album, Orchard Beach Album, Goldman Sachs TeamWorks Day.

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Learning from the World at the Global Youth Summit in England

Brenda (3rd from Left) discussing with fellow Youth Leaders at the Global Youth Summit in Manchester, England

In June, I had the once in a lifetime opportunity to attend the Global Youth Summit in Manchester, England, a week long program hosted by the City Football Group’s Cityzens Giving and City in the Community programs.  Held at the Manchester City FC Academy, the summit convened individuals from six different countries.  Here we discussed the problems being faced in our countries and our communities.

One of the many things I learned was to speak your mind even if you’re standing alone because it’s amazing how other people will stand and follow after you take the first step. It is very hard to be a leader and one of the many challenges is adapting to the environment you are in.  This was a new experience for me.  As an 18 year old who has lived all her life in the Bronx, I did not even have a passport.  In fact, it was not until the afternoon before my flight was supposed to leave that my passport arrive and I finally knew I could go.

At the summit, I  talked about the general challenges this community faces and specifically about how we are trying to fight against obesity by using soccer to motivate young kids.  Changing the habits of the future generation is the beginning of change since they are the ones who can create a better future.  The children will also convince their parents into eating healthy now.  Hopefully, I can help lead these children and other South Bronx United participants in making healthier choices on a daily basis.

The programs in all the different countries, states, regions, religions, and genders were fighting for similar goals.  A program in South Africa used soccer to show children how HIV is easily spread was through a cone demonstration. Four teams had to dribble around cones trying not to touch it or else they would “contract” HIV and have to do 10 push ups. The activity also showed that if trouble affects one person in the community it affects everyone living there.  We are using similar activities to teach health and nutrition here in the Bronx.

Something I learned from the Colombian team was that if a community is united and stands strong it can overcome anything that tries to hurt them, as well as how to use words instead of violence. Because younger kids see the actions that we take in a situation and use it as an example to do the same in their situation. Violence should not be the first thing to pops in our minds when faced with a situation we are not comfortable with nor is it to gain success or winning a match.  They didn’t only use soccer (or as they call it Futbol) to send a message out to the young ones.  They used music, art, and other modes as well. There are so many talents, all we have to do is bring it out of the kids and make them feel confident in themselves.  People from Manchester even showed us how they used music to get the children involved and help them forget about the difficulties going on in their lives.  In the end, the overall message was that people shouldn’t face their troubles alone because we are a community and we will need each other in the end.

Brenda and fellow SBU Youth Leader, Jeffrey Cordova, posing with Manchester City FC star Yaya Toure

Through the trainings, there were some coaching tips I learned that will stick with me forever, such as different ways to give a round of applause and do warm ups with songs.  My favorite part of the week was working together to make a festival happen for kids of the community.  It isn’t about making us look good or making a club look good but it’s about the kids. We did the festival for them so that they could have fun and also learn about problems going on around the world. What does it mean to me to be involved in changing lives in my community? It means that I’m not just a friend, a boss, a sister or a mother; it means I’m a leader and what I do affects all the ones around me. It means that I’m not just thinking about myself but others surrounding me.

SBU Youth Leaders with other participants in the Global Youth Summit in Manchester

I am looking forward to seeing change in my community because our project in South Bronx United can make a huge impact on everyone. Obesity is a big problem in New York and changing the eating habits in the children changes the habits of the parents and families, then hopefully the community.  Change starts with one person and travels around. We just have to start somewhere.

You can learn more about this year’s Cityzen’s Giving Global Youth Summit on YouTube.  South Bronx United’s participation in the Cityzen’s Giving program and the Global Youth Summit is thanks to New York City FC and the City Football Foundation.

Brenda Casimiro, 18, plays with the SBU Rising Stars.  She is about to graduate from the Marble Hill School for International Studies, a public school in the Northwest Bronx and plans to begin college at the Borough of Manhattan Community College.

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South Bronx United Awards 2015 College Scholarships

On June 27th, South Bronx United announced four high school seniors as the recipients of the 2015 SBU College Scholarship: Estefani Sierra, Samuel Koomson, Abama Nyamaa, and Kevin Anchundia.  All are receiving funds from South Bronx United to help them pursue post-secondary degrees in New York State.  The recipients were announced during the SBU Academy awards ceremony and barbecue following the annual Graduates and Alumni soccer match.  All graduating seniors from the South Bronx United were eligible to apply.  It was the fourth year that South Bronx United has awarded college scholarship money.

Estefani Sierra was awarded a $1,500 scholarship.  She will be attending the Borough of Manhattan Community College as a first-generation college student and hopes to study Nursing.  She said, “When I heard my name being called that I have won the scholarship, I couldn’t believe it. This scholarship means that I would be able to go to college without worrying if I would have enough money to cover classes, books, and travel.  I am able to be the first one in my family to go to college. Thank you, South Bronx United.”

Estefani, 18, graduated from University Heights High School with a 3.0 GPA.  She was part of the SBU Rising Stars for two years, but could not play much of the year due to a torn ACL.  She was also a member of the SBU Youth Council.  Her family moved to the United States from Mexico and are proud to have raised a college student.

Samuel Koomson was also awarded a $1,500 scholarship to attend Buffalo State College.  Born in Ghana, he has been with South Bronx United and the SBU 95 Blue Devils for nearly three years.  He graduated from Bronx Career and College Preparatory School with a 2.7 GPA and hopes to study Chemistry or Health Science.  The scholarship funds will be used to directly pay for tuition and offset the costs of loans.  Samuel says, “Winning the South Bronx United Scholarship has motivated and boosted my confidence more to achieve anything in life as it is filled with lots of competition. It is now also evident that everything is attained through hard work and determination.”

Abama Nyamaa, who moved from Ghana four years ago, received $1,000 to aid his educational expenses.  He is graduating from Crotona International High School and hopes to study nursing at Bronx Community College.  Abama only joined South Bronx United this year, but says the impact the organization has had on him in a short time has been huge: “I’m so proud to be a member of South Bronx United. The club helped me a lot to improve my skill in soccer, English learning, find the best college for me.  Now they are offering me a scholarship to achieve my goal in college.  This helps me to follow my dream, achieve my goal and also make my future bright.”

South Bronx United also awards a PlaySoccer2Give (PS2G) scholarship of $1,000 each year, which is sponsored by PlaySoccer2Give, a nonprofit organization that encourages adult pickup soccer communities to play for a common good, raise funds and awareness of soccer non-profits.  The 2015 recipient of the PS2G Scholarship was Kevin Anchundia who has been a part of South Bronx United and the SBU 97 Strikers since 2010.

Kevin, who was born in Ecuador and immigrated to the Bronx with his family, recently graduated from the High School for Computers and Technology.  He will be attending Long Island University at CW Post and hopes to study Finance.  Kevin stated, “Winning the PlaySoccer2Give college scholarship gives me a huge boost financially.  This fall, I’m planning to attend LIU CW Post as a commuter student.  This scholarship will help me cover some commuting expenses, including gas, tolls, and train tickets.  I’m honored and grateful for the scholarship.  Thank you, South Bronx United and PlaySoccer2Give!”

In all, South Bronx United has awarded $20,000 since 2012 to deserving students from within the SBU Academy who demonstrate promising future potential with a financial need to help them reach that potential.  The scholarship is supported by individual donations and organizations such as PS2G.

If you or someone you know is interested in support the SBU College Scholarship Fund, please donate here.  You can choose to designate donations for the scholarship fund.  For questions, contact info@southbronxunited.org or (718) 404-9281.

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New Roots

[Photographs by the SBU Newspaper Club]

The following is an article from the upcoming issue of The SBU Press, a publication by the South Bronx United Newspaper Club.

By Ayouba Swaray and Mohamed Kourouma

Audrey Wong, has lived in the Bronx for almost 40 years and is passionate about nurturing the beauty of her borough. She is one of many volunteers who helps keep New Roots Farm in Mott Haven thriving. New Roots is a non-profit community farm managed by the International Rescue Committee (IRC) an organization that helps refugees all over the world.

Dena Garcia (left) and Audrey Wong (right) at New Roots Community Farm on April 29, 2015 in the South Bronx.

Audrey said, “about eight beds belong to refugees. Many of the refugees come from cultures that are agriculture based and so it’s gives them a connection to the new world that they are coming into.”

Audrey is a retired museum educator with Chinese and Jamaican heritage. She spent many years teaching youth at the Bronx Museum. She loved her work but was troubled that students seemed to have little hope for their futures. Some would tell her, “we are not going to live to the age of 18.” Audrey explained that if you get to know the Bronx through the media you would think it was a terrible place. The reality is, it is just painted with the wrong kind of brush. Meaning, that others describe it to be worse then it really is.

The Bronx has many wonderful landmarks like Yankee Stadium, the Bronx Zoo, the Botanical Garden, Fordham and Lehman College. Audrey said, “That’s what we need the young people to understand so they don’t internalize what the media says.”

With the assistance of her fellow gardener, Dena, Audrey plants things at New Roots that can be enjoyed by everyone. The farm is a point of loveliness that livens up the neighborhood and the passers by. It is just another reason why The Bronx is an exciting place to call home.

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SBU Academy Class of 2015 Commit to College

BRONX, NY – 21 SBU Academy Seniors have committed so far to colleges and universities across New York State.  Over the course of the school year (and often much earlier), students in the Class of 2015 worked hard with their senior mentors and South Bronx United staff to research, apply to, and gain admittance to a range of institutions, including private colleges and schools in the SUNY (State University of New York) and CUNY (City University of New York) systems.  In stark contrast to many of their peers attending South Bronx schools, over ninety percent of the 24 SBU Academy Seniors expect to be enrolled in college by October.  Students have committed to a variety of schools:

Nyamaa Abama, Bronx Community College
Daniel Agboba, Bronx Community College
Kevin Anchundia, Long Island University Post
Alseny Barry, St. Lawrence University
Carlos Blanco, Borough of Manhattan Community College
Mohamed Camara, Sarah Lawrence College
Brenda Casimiro,  Borough of Manhattan Community College
Sheku Conteh, SUNY Potsdam
Jeffrey Cordova, Clarkson University
Daouda DialloBronx Community College
Mouhamed Diouf, Hobart and William Smith Colleges
Antonio Flores, SUNY Oswego
Kevin Flores, Long Island University Brooklyn
Evans Frimpong, The Sage Colleges
Jonathan Guzman, Hostos Community College
Beaufils Kimpolo-Pene, Loomis Chaffee School*
Samuel Koomson, Buffalo State College
Julieth Martinez, Borough of Manhattan Community College
Karla Ruiz, Long Island University Brooklyn
Ouyada Sango-Paca, Farmingdale State College
Estefani Sierra, Borough of Manhattan Community College
Tony Villegas, Alfred University

One student, Kimpolo-Pene, received a full scholarship and subsequently committed to complete a post-graduate year at a Connecticut boarding school, Loomis Chaffee School.

Guzman received a competitive Academic Achievers scholarship (supported by the Simon Bolivar Foundation) to attend Hostos.  Several of the students plan to represent their schools on the soccer field as well, namely Diouf and Camara who were recruitment to represent Hobart College in the Liberty League and Sarah Lawrence College in the Skyline Conference, respectively.

Additionally, several SBU Alumni have completed transfers to prominent institutions.  Aicha Fofana will be transferring to Franklin and Marshall College from City College of New York; Iyayi Imade will be moving to St. Lawrence University from ASA College; and Sarpong Adjei will start his Sophomore year at Sage College of Albany after finishing his first year at the NYC College of Technology.

This column will be updated as more seniors announce their college commitments.

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SBU Literacy Day: Bringing the Joy of Reading to the Soccer Pitch

BRONX, NY – Over 500 boys and girls attend South Bronx United’s Recreational Program at Macombs Dam Park and Mullaly Park each Saturday to play soccer.  On May 9th, they also had the opportunity to take home free books and experience the joy of reading as part of SBU’s annual Literacy Day.

In all, over 1,000 books were available to children and families to take home free.  This year’s donors included Scholastic, Penguin Random House, Better World Books, Candlewick Press, Abbeville PressThe Association of American Publishers, Kiwi Magazine, Girl Scouts Heart of the Hudson Troop 1532, and several individuals.  The most sought after  items were books from the World Soccer Legends series, by Illugi Jökulsson, featuring superstars Lionel Messi, Neymar, Ronaldo, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Alex Morgan, and the U.S. Women’s National Team.  These books were raffled off every hour.

Every player also sat down in a reading circle with their team prior to playing soccer.  Reading circles were led by SBU Youth Council members and youth referees.  All participate in the SBU Academy program and compete on one of several SBU travel soccer teams.  The youngest children listened to Soccer Star, a story by Mina Javaherbin (Candlewick Press) about a Brazilian boy from the Favelas who dreams of becoming a soccer star and his sister who helps win the game.  Boys in the Under-10 and Under-13 divisions read chapters from D.C. Freedman‘s U.K. based soccer series, Jamie Johnson: Born To Play.  Both sets of books were generously donated to the organization by the publisher and author.   Girls teams also had to chance to read excerpts from the Andrea Montalbano’s Soccer Sisters series and Mia Hamm’s autobiography, Go for the Goal. The Under-16 boys engaged in a spirited debate after reading a provocative article from the New York Times on the merits and morals of diving on the soccer field.

As for the significance of Literacy Day, SBU Youth Council member Gnim Bazim, 17, says, “It is especially important for South Bronx kids to read more because reading will help them see the world differently and encourage them to explore and excel in school.”

South Bronx United thanks all the donors and volunteers who helped make the event possible.  Contact info@southbronxunited.org for information on how to support future events.

View more photos from the event on the SBU Facebook Page.

[Photo Credits: Amanda Berg, Tenzin Yeshay]

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City Showcase Symposium Puts NYC Student-Athletes on the Path to College

NEW YORK, NY – On April 2nd, South Bronx United organized the 2015 City Showcase Symposium to kickoff the City Showcase weekend that also included a youth soccer tournament on Randall’s Island. The event, held at Baruch College for a second year, filled an auditorium full of nearly 300 high school soccer players, parents, coaches, panel speakers and representatives from various New York area college admissions departments and soccer teams, and even New York City FC’s goalkeeper Ryan Meara.  The symposium provided a platform for inner city students to gain exposure to higher education opportunities and the soccer recruitment process.

The evening began by giving students the opportunity to visit information tables staffed by college representatives providing important information on the admissions process, student life, and opportunity programs targeting typically student groups typically underrepresented in higher education.  In attendance were representatives from Baruch College, John Jay College, Sarah Lawrence College, the City University of New York (CUNY) Opportunity Programs, CUNY Athletics, and Growth Through Sport, a sports psychology firm.  Growth Through Sport, CUNY, and Baruch College served as sponsors for the event.

Students and parents also had the opportunity to network with several college soccer coaches, including Dan Solli from the Fordham University Women’s team, Mike Erdi of Villa College Men’s Team, Jorden Scott of Manhattan College Men’s team, and Ajani Clunie, Assistant Coach for John Jay College Women’s team.

CUNY Athletic Conference Executive Director Zak Ivkovic served as host for the evening’s presentation.  He introduced Meara, who currently plays goalkeeper for New York City FC on loan from the Red Bulls.  Meara received his Bachelor’s in Marketing from Fordham University where he was a four-year starter and conference Defensive Player of the Year.  He gave a motivational speech on his soccer journey, sharing the trials and tribulations he encountered to become a professional athlete while emphasizing the need for all students to earn their college degree.  Later in the evening Ivkovic emphasized that only 5.5% of high school players become NCAA intercollegiate athletes and just 1.7% of those go on to play professionally.

The college panel included a diverse group of speakers: Richard Alvarez, the University Director of Admissions for The City of New York; Jennifer Gayles, Director of Admissions and Coordinator of Multicultural Recruitment at Sarah Lawrence College; Kyle Graves, Men’s soccer coach at Morrisville State; Casey Summers, Women’s head coach for John Jay College; and Mr. Scott of Manhattan College.  The college panel was moderated by Scott Knight founder of andGo Sports, a firm that supports high school athletes through the college recruitment process.  Panelists offered extensive information, touching on topics that included school and major selection, admission process, and financial support. All coaches spoke of the challenges students face playing college soccer at the different intercollegiate levels.  Coaches never failed to stress the significance of doing well in college and earning a college degree is to the students.

Roberto Torralba was one of a few 8th graders present. “It was good information as I learned that it doesn’t mean necessarily mean that Division 1 schools are the best schools to apply to and there are a lot of other options. Since I’m entering 9th grade, it was good to get early information about the college process.”

The event underscored the importance and effectiveness in combining soccer with academics.  South Bronx United goalkeeper Tony Villegas, 17,  stated, “Being the first to go to college in my family is a very big deal; Soccer taught me discipline, taught me team work, helped me become the person who I am right now, and I never gave up and that is something soccer has a lot to do with.”

South Bronx students are looking forward to putting some of the panelists suggestion into practice in college.  Says Jeffrey Cordova, also 17, “College will change my life, I’ll get a lot more of opportunities, and become a better person.”

To learn more about the City Showcase, visit www.cityshowcasetournament.org.  A video recap of the event is available, courtesy of Adolfo Lee.

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South Bronx United Given Funding Through Cityzens Giving

City in the Community soccer program in partnership with South Bronx United has received funding from Cityzens Giving, a charitable football initiative made possible by City Football Group, whose family of clubs include; Manchester City FC, New York City FC and Melbourne City FC.

The initiative, which is the first of its kind, gave tens of thousands of Cityzens (Club members) the opportunity to pledge $8 US dollars to six charity football projects across the world.  A $600,000 charitable fund has been split between projects in Cape Town, Kuala Lumpur, Manchester, Melbourne, New York and Barranquilla. Through the power of football, the projects will improve the lives of more than 2,000 young people in disadvantaged communities.

Gnim Bazim, 16, a member of the SBU Youth Council and project leader for South Bronx United’s City in the Community program said: “We are excited to start a program that is going to impact young kids health and education through soccer and encourage them to grow into leaders.”

Find out more information about Cityzens Giving and the other projects making a difference, at http://www.nycfc.com/community/cityzens-giving

Check out the video: Thank You, Cityzens!

 

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Alumni Spotlight: An SBU Family becomes NEAC Champions

With my fellow SBU Alumni and Morrisville State teammates, after winning the NEAC Championship. Top Row (from left): Carmel Addae, Philemon Appiah. Bottom Row: Michael Oyenuga, Julian Rodriguez, Jeffrey Hado, Jamieson McKoy, Yusuf Saunders, Karim Ouedraogo.

South Bronx United has always been my second family.  Spending four years at this soccer club led to many discoveries and opportunities which I have made the most out of.  I created lots of memories with my teammates and coaches on and off the field, which I will always remember and cherish.  Since I didn’t have the opportunity to play high school soccer, South Bronx United gave me something to talk about during my high school years.  In addition to playing soccer, we attended many events off the field.  My coach, George, also gave me the opportunity to intern with him at Columbia University Teachers College.  I continue to go back during summer and winter breaks.  On the field, George made me the player I am today, especially by inspiring me to play central midfield.  Looking at how far South Bronx United has gone and the direction its heading now, it is quite impressive.  Most of the luxuries the various teams enjoy now was not available during my early years at the club from 2009 to 2012.  However, we were content and made the most out of the little we had.

 

Playing with SBU in 2010

Graduating in 2012 was a bitter sweet moment.  Leaving the club wasn’t easy for me considering the fact that I saw everyone as a part of my second family.  But it was made easier as I thought through my final decision on where to attend college.  Through an annual South Bronx United College Showcase, I had caught the attention of Mr. Kyle Graves, the head coach of the men’s soccer at Morrisville State College.  Change is always bound to happen and I embraced it deciding to continue my education and soccer career at Morrisville.

College education is significantly different from high school and I was up for the challenge. I went into college as an Individual Studies major, even though I had in mind that I wanted to pursue business administration.  I felt that Individual Studies would give me a feel of how rigorous the courses will be for at least in my first year.  I had little knowledge on the difficulty level of the classes, but my major concern was how I would adapt to the life of living hundreds of miles away from home in a small town.  One fellow SBU senior, Karim Ouedraogo, came to school the same year I did. Another, alumnus Carmel  Addae, had already been in the school for a year.  We went from a large SBU family to one of only three, but together we would explore and have an experience in Morrisville.  Having met a couple other boys from Ghana, my hometown, I quickly settled down and became more comfortable being on campus. Carmel had told me what to expect in terms of the campus, but it was up to me to become familiar with everything once I got there. With the help of Coach Graves, I had little difficulty and two weeks was all I needed to become familiar with the classes and professors.  Most of my classes were small, which I preferred, but I also had two lecture classes.  Being a student athlete, I had a lot of responsibilities on and off the field so I made sure I stayed on track with each one of my classes. Knowing that I would be traveling to and from games, I made sure I did my work ahead of time in case I had to miss a class or two during the season.  Time management was vital and I believe I managed my time well.

Education has always been the main focus but what kept me going was the game I love to play.  Getting the opportunity to play soccer in college inspired me to work harder on and off the field.  The most important thing was working hard during my first pre-season and getting into a better shape.  Since it was a very short preseason, a lot of work had to be done in a short period of time.  It was definitely a struggle but I pushed through every practice. Hard work got me into the starting line-up my freshman year, and I never looked back.  Day in and day out I worked hard to become better knowing there was always room for improvement. That year, for the first time since joining the North East Athletic Conference (NEAC), we made it to the conference tournament championship game.

My second year was not very different but more competition joined in the team. Another member from SBU, Philemon Appiah was a great addition to the squad. During the 2013 season, I improved on my game compared to the year before. All four of us worked hard and once again made it to the tournament championship game for the second year in a row.  This time we fell short to SUNY Institute of Technology who had two of my former SBU teammates, Bazo Coulibaly and Christstely Mbongou. Losing on penalty kicks was not easy to handle but as the saying goes: You win some and you lose some.

In the summer of 2014, I dedicated time to go to the gym to stay in shape. South Bronx United’s summer mini-league helped me improve on the attacking aspect of my game. We practiced tactics, having in mind that our formation was going to change that upcoming season to a 4 back system instead of the regular 3 we played the first two years. Though I still played as a defensive midfielder, I was going to have two great center backs/brothers that have played together all their lives and were outstanding at the back playing behind me.  I decided to add a little bit more attacking to my game.

As a result, 2014 was my most successful year since I came to Morrisville.  On the soccer field, I accomplished a lot individually and the team as a whole had our best season, despite a 1-0 loss in the NCAA tournament to powerhouse Messiah College, the defending NCAA champion who had only lost four games in six years.  I was named to the all-conference first team for the first time.  As a team, we made it to our third consecutive conference tournament final.  This time we ended up winning, bouncing back from the painful defeat a year earlier.  We were fortunate to host the NCAA Division III tournament competition for the first time ever and went on to win our first round match.

Another special part of the season was having four other SBU members join the team.  Together we created more memories on and off the field and worked really hard for the team.  Two of the new freshman, Julian Rodriguez and Jamieson McKoy earned well-deserved Second Team All-Conference recognition, while Jamieson went on to be recognized as the Most Valuable Player in the NEAC tournament.  The three of us received numerous other players of the week honors as well.  A third freshman, Yusuf Saunders had the game winning penalty kick to send us through to the second round of NCAA.  To add to this, fellow junior and SBU Alum Karim Ouedraogo received a coach’s award for being a monster at the left of defense.  Michael “Femi” Oyenuga, Carmel Addae and Philemon Appiah also were important contributors throughout the whole season.

Next year will be my last season playing for Morrisville State College and it will be another bitter sweet moment once again.  Five key players will not be returning next year but I still believe we will be strong enough to compete with the best in the conference. Our freshman class from 2014 is a special group that contributed greatly to our success and through hard work, will help us continue to dominate the league. Already with my associate’s degree in business administration, I am now pursuing a bachelor’s degree which will be completed in 2016.  I plan on interning this summer with hopes of preparing for a full time job after graduation.  After that, I plan to complete a Masters Degree in Business Administration.  But I still only have much of my journey in front of me.

Jeffrey Hado is a Junior at Morrisville State College.  He was a member of South Bronx United and the SBU 93 Sonics from 2009-2012.


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My First Semester of College

Dear Seniors,

College is a lot different than high school, no matter where you go, but especially if you decide to go away from home like I did.  So far, I have been able to adjust to the environment and overcome every challenge.

My first semester of college at the Rochester Institute of Technology required a lot of hard work.  This is one of the first things you’ll notice.  The workload will be heavier and more intense than you have ever experienced.  The major challenges are the large volume of reading, the short deadlines, and the writing, writing, writing!  What I had previously learned from South Bronx United at tutoring and from high school has helped me manage my time and assignments.  So I suggest you pay close attention to everyone who is trying to help you.

On some of those long, seemingly endless nights of studying and writing, it will be only natural for you to fall asleep in the library or a study room. These down periods always pay off on testing days. Every minute of your time counts in college, so you should always be looking to get something productive out of it.  On the other hand, you’ll be making a lot of new friends. It’s always exciting to discover how wonderfully diverse college relationships can be. Socializing in college is part of doing well and succeeding. Having a great connection with professors and classmates means getting a helping hand when core classes start to get harder throughout the semester.

Aside from academics there are also extracurricular activities that college offers.  The Rochester Institute of Technology offers students more than 300 active clubs and organizations.  I’m currently part of the Latin American Student Association (LASA) holding the executive board position as Freshmen Representative. Also, I’m part of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) as a National and Local member. By being part of these established organizations, I was able to build networks and gain professional experience.

Conferences and banquets through these organizations have been new learning opportunities for me.  South Bronx United helped prepared me by having symposiums and local talks about specific subjects.  My first engineering conference at college was held in Detroit, Michigan. The conference offered students opportunities to get internships for current students and full-time jobs for graduates. The conference was mostly for sophomores and older. I was the only freshman from Region Four to have the chance to attend.

I was also excited to continue playing soccer for fun.  I decided to join an intramural soccer team, and the season turned out to be awesome. My team was co-ed, and together we came in third place.  Because of academic commitments I missed some games, but our outcome was pretty good. Even though intramural athletics do not fall under the intercollegiate level, my team still required a lot of practice, dedication, and effort to play.

College is incredibly difficult, but it gets one ready for the real world.  For me, college life means working hard, being active on campus, and discovering what career you want to pursue.

Sincerely,

Guibel Marino
Freshman, Rochester Institute of Technology
South Bronx United Class of 2014
SBU-PlaySoccer2Give 2014 College Scholarship Recipient

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