South Bronx United participants learn about Pele from HS Sophomore Gnim Bazim.

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.

SBU student athlete Mohamed Konate, 12, winning a raffled Messi book, courtesy of Abbeville Press.

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.

Participants and parents browsing through free books.

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 for information on how to support future events.