The U.S. Soccer Foundation this week honored an El Paso program based in one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods for making a difference in sports-based youth development.
The Segundo Barrio Futbol Club was presented the 2019 Urban Soccer Symposium Award for Impact at the foundation’s 13th annual Urban Soccer Symposium March 18 in Washington, D.C. Awards for organizations or individuals were presented in three categories: influence, innovation, and impact.
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“It is with great pleasure that we present the third annual Urban Soccer Symposium Awards to We Can Kick It, Segundo Barrio FC, and Mayor Rahm Emanuel,” Ed Foster-Simeon, President and CEO of the U.S. Soccer Foundation said in a press release. “It is because of the innovations of organizations and individuals like these that we continue to grow as a community and, in turn, are able to positively impact more and more young lives through sport.”
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel received the 2019 Influence Award, which was awarded to an individual holding public office who has leveraged his or her position to support, advocate for, and champion sports-based youth development efforts in underserved communities. We Can Kick It received the 2019 Innovation Award for using soccer as a tool to inspire and empower children and their families affected by cancer.
Segundo Barrio FC received the Impact Award for its work using soccer as a tool for social change by developing programs that foster the physical, mental, and emotional growth of youth in the El Paso, Texas neighborhood, Segundo Barrio.
Founded in 2011, Segundo Barrio FC is a volunteer-run organization and started with just one team. Today, the organization serves 150 young people in three main programs: a competitive travel team that competes year-round in leagues and tournament; an afterschool soccer and reading club; and a college preparatory program, which supports high school players academically and provides pathways to higher education.
“Responding to the unique realities youth face living on the border between the United States and Mexico, Segundo Barrio identifies best practices and adapts them to their environment to ensure a lasting impact on both their youth and their community,” the U.S. Soccer Foundation said in its press release.
In an interview for Borderzine in 2015, Segundo Barrio FC founder Simon Chandler said he got the idea for the neighborhood club after working as a soccer coach for La Fe Preparatory School in South El Paso.
“I would always have kids (from the neighborhood) coming up and asking me if they could be on the team,” said Chandler, who now teaches at Hart Elementary School. “But because it was a school team, it wasn’t open to the community in general.”
Chandler sought out sponsors and launched the Segundo Barrio Futbol Club, which opened the team to all Segundo Barrio children at no cost.
Segundo Barrio FC is currently participating in USA Today’s A Community Thrives campaign to raise enough community support to receive a grant for the program. The club’s goal is to raise $3,000 in donations before April 12, 2019