New York, NY – On Saturday, June 25th at Pier 40 Arena, America Scores NY will host their Annual Soccer Tournament "America Scores Cup 11."
This tournament will feature over 250 adult soccer players representing their companies. Aon Hewitt, Thomson Rueters, and Bingham McCutchen LLP are some of the companies that will be participating in their efforts to raise money for the nonprofit America Scores NY.
America SCORES was founded in 1994 by a D.C. public schoolteacher named Julie Kennedy. Facing the challenge of keeping her students out of trouble, Ms. Kennedy decided to utilize the tools she learned as an athlete by coaching a girls soccer team. When the weather was horrific, she would have her team stay indoors where they would spend their time writing poetry.
Over time, Ms. Kennedy noticed a positive change in her students' self-esteem, grades, and their decision to live a healthier life.
Now in 2011, there are 15 America SCORES sites throughout the United States in low-income cities serving over 6,000 students. The demographic breakdown of the children they're serving are 47% Latino, 29% African American, 6% white, 6% bi/multiracial, 6% Asian American/Pacific Islander, and 6% identified as "other."
With the rise of obesity and asthma mixed with low reading scores the children of this country continue to produce, they are in danger of never reaching their full potential. Along with the breakdown of family dynamics and the elimination of after-school programs and non-profits, a service like America SCORES is doing its part in addressing the needs of children.
The money raised from Saturday's America Socres Cup will help cover the expenses required to provide the quality of service that they do for the children in New York as the America Scores NY provides a Fall session (8-9 weeks) and Spring session (10-12 weeks).
In order to successfully run these programs, coaches for each site are the school's teachers. Every teacher involved has the option of being a soccer coach or a poetry coach. Regardless of the choice, they receive a winter and summer session 7-10 hour training from the staff of America Scores. In the training sessions, the teachers are given a Soccer & Poetry curriculum which they're expected to follow.
Once everything is set and ready to go, the program runs all five days of the academic week. Each school they serve in Harlem consists of 32 students between the grades of third and fifth. Within the 32 students, boys and girls teams of 16 students are formed and they participate in two days of soccer, two days of poetry, and Friday is game day.
Recently, I had the privilege of attending a Friday game day. It was fantastic as I witnessed multiple games being played throughout the park. Not only were the children active, the coaches were just as involved as they made it a point to encourage and have every child on their roster participate.
Since this match took place towards the end of the school year, the coaches proudly raved on how many of their players have improved in playing soccer and their self esteem was higher as opposed to when they were beginning to learn the game.
What was intriguing about Game Day Friday is the simple fact that players are awarded achievement cards for the role they played in the match. In the end, everyone is a winner because not only are they developing their soccer skills, they're also leading a healthy lifestyle, and during the week, they're focused on learning working on their poetry.
While Saturday's America Cup maybe fun to watch and follow, please remember that America Scores NY still needs your support and time. So if you're able to help or donate to America SCORES in any of their 15 sites, please do so.
To learn more about America SCORES, visit: www.americascores.org
Cesar Diaz covers Soccer for LatinoSports.com. He also writes for 5 Points Press & USSoccerPlayers.com ; your source for American Soccer news brought to you by members of the U.S. National Team. Easily accessible, you may reach Cesar at firstname.lastname@example.org and at Twitter at @CoveringSoccer.