In 3 short months, 691 students have already benefited from a variety of on-and-off the field programs that not only got them moving and taught them new skills, but also gave them the chance to coach and try new sports.
Program Participant Breakdown
Junior coaching, referee courses & mentoring: 14 high school students
Tennis Pilot: 11 middle school students
During School Soccer & Wellness: 535 elementary & middle school students
Healthy Cooking Courses: 13 middle school students, and 2 parents
Special thank you to long-time partner, Benfica for the donated t-shirts!
Did you say tennis?
Yes, we’ve piloted our first middle school tennis program in partnership with Everyone’s A Player. We are finding new ways, with awesome partners, to reach new students. Like soccer, we will support these kids with year-round, off the court, leadership, health, and academic support. Pictured here are Arlington School students during their Saturday afternoon tennis sessions @Cederdale Fitness Center
Our new Health Kicks! Kitchen is now open
A 15×22′ teaching kitchen has tripled our program space. It includes 2, multi-burner ranges and 4 stainless steel work tables that allows for larger class sizes and more adventurous recipes. We will sponsor meal planning classes for high school athletes wanting to take their health and fitness to the next level. Parent-child courses will also be on the “menu” this spring.
Looking forward to spring
We will field 8 travel teams for competition in the Essex County Soccer League, the most teams we’ve ever fielded! Two U18 teams -the United & Blazers– include opportunities for our oldest, high school players to stay connected. Some of these kids have been with us for 6+ years. Our city-wide rec league also offers K-3rd graders twice-weekly sessions.
Our kids have more adequate transportation this spring thanks to the generosity of the Smith Family Foundation and long-time partner, Commonwealth Motors.
Time for reflection
Beyond Soccer attended its first U.S. Soccer Foundation Urban Soccer Collaborative in 2011. It started out as a small collection of groups looking for a forum to share ideas, challenges and best practices around the new “sport for social change movement.” Now 4 conferences later, and 10 years since the Collaborative’s inception (# DecadeofChange), Beyond Soccer reconnected, once again, at the Nation’s capital with its friends from the JT Dorsey Foundation (Philadelphia, PA), Project Goal (Providence, RI), Brotherhood Crusade (Los Angeles, CA) and Soccer Without Borders, and many more. By working collaboratively with other like-minded, dedicated individuals, we can improve the field of sports-based youth development and affect change in more inner city communities, like Lawrence. Some conference speakers included Mugsy Bogues & Kathryn Smith, the NFL’s first full-time, female assistant coach.
Player Spotlight; 5 year Beyond Soccer player, Lester Navichoque
When Lester joined the u12 travel team in 2011, he had a deep love for soccer, a sport he grew up watching and playing with his family and friends in his Prospect Hill neighborhood. Lester had obvious soccer skill and was eager to explore his talents all over the field. After consistent play and hard work, he settled into his midfielder position.
In addition to his determination on the field, Lester is a great student. He is kind to his peers and the first one to pick up balls and organize equipment after practice. Lester attends Lawrence High School’s “Abbot Academy,” a new accelerated Academy that only accepted 100 students in its inaugural year, with Lester being one of those selected students.
“Beyond Soccer, to me, is an opportunity to experience a real team without having to worry about the cost. It’s a gateway for many kids all over Lawrence to participate, train, and develop a passion for something they want to do. Beyond Soccer is a hand in need, but only if you are willing to commit.”
“Beyond soccer has done and changed many things in my life, for example my social skills. I used to be this shy kid who kept to himself and never wanted to be the center of attention. But thanks to Beyond Soccer I am able to lead and give orders. I wouldn’t have acquired the personality of someone who commits to something and is hardworking. I wouldn’t have experienced all the good times I had in camps, programs, games, and what it feels like to win.” – Lester
Lester, a gifted soccer player, leader and positive influence on others, has an exciting future ahead. We will continue to find ways to fuel Lester’s passions and talents, on and off the field.
#PlayItForward for sports in 2021 this giving season!