Washington, D.C. – South Bronx United today announced it has been awarded the 2018 Urban Soccer Symposium Impact Award from the U.S. Soccer Foundation, the national model for sports-based youth development programs in underserved communities. This award is given to South Bronx United for using sport to enact measurable and sustainable positive change within an underserved community for at least five years.
“We are honored to be recognized by U.S. Soccer Foundation with this award,” said Executive Director and co-founder Andrew So. “We first started attending the Urban Soccer Symposium eight years ago and I remember feeling overwhelmed with so much to learn and so much to do. It is humbling to be in the position we are in now with this award and where other soccer for social change organizations look to South Bronx United as their model.”
South Bronx United was founded in 2009 and Mr. So and his wife, Steph So. The organization now serves more than 1,100 boys and girls annual between the ages of 4 and 19, who are primarily immigrant or first generation youth. Its core program, the SBU Academy, works with 170 middle and high school students by combining competitive soccer teams with academic enrichment and tutoring, college prep, mentoring, leadership development, immigration legal services, and other individual and family supports. In the past five years, 100 percent of SBU Academy seniors have gone on to graduate high school and 95 percent have enrolled in college. South Bronx United provides services in one of the highest-need districts in the country. According to the United States Census Bureau, the South Bronx has the nation’s highest poverty rate, with 49 percent of children living below the poverty line. Only 51 percent of students graduate high school with state regents diplomas.
This award is a part of the U.S. Soccer Foundation’s Urban Soccer Symposium Awards, which recognize best practices and innovation in the sports-based youth development community and honor the exceptional achievements of organizations and individuals within those communities.
“We are proud to present the second annual Urban Soccer Symposium Awards to the Seattle Housing Authority’s Redevelopment Project, South Bronx United, and Mayor Bill de Blasio for their exceptional achievements in the sports-based youth development community,” said Ed Foster-Simeon, President & CEO of the U.S. Soccer Foundation. “We are delighted to acknowledge some of the best practices in the field and recognize meaningful change and innovation driven by community-based sports initiatives across the country.”
The award was presented during the U.S. Soccer Foundation’s 2018 Urban Soccer Symposium, the nation’s premier event where executive directors, mentors and program administrators learn and exchange best practices in the use of soccer as vehicle for youth development.
About South Bronx United
Founded in 2009, South Bronx United is a 501c3 nonprofit youth development organization. The organization’s mission is to use soccer as a tool for social change. 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. South Bronx United 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.