This past Friday, Success Academy Soccer Club (SASC) scholars got a glimpse into their possible futures as professional soccer athletes.
Nearly 200 soccer club scholars and their families traveled to Yankee Stadium to watch a Major League Soccer (MLS) game between the New York City Football Club (NYCFC) and Chicago Fire.
For many of them, this was their first time at an MLS game. They were buzzing with excitement and unnerving anticipation as they waited to enter the stadium, where NYCFC currently holds its home games. The trip was motivated by one of soccer club’s core principles: always work hard to achieve your goal.
Boris Bozic, the program’s head coach, felt it was important to expose his players to professional level of play. The program, which is offered at six of Success Academy’s 24 elementary schools, will expand to 12 more next year, with plans to scale across the network. Earlier this year, Bozic shared with The Village Voice how enriching these experiences can be for player development. He and his team of coaches also want families to experience soccer as well, one reason why families were required to accompany scholars to the game.
“We aim to build a strong culture around soccer,” Bozic said. For Success Academy soccer club scholars to make it to the pro level one day, Bozic has taken a European-style approach that emphasizes training over competition, starting in the elementary grades. Having the support of parents helps as well.
“We aim to build a strong culture around soccer.”
“I just want Madyson to take full advantage of this opportunity, especially if this is what she wants to do,” said Javel Carrington, who attended the game with his daughter, Madyson, a second-grade scholar at Success Academy Harlem 1. “She seems really interested in soccer since she’s been playing now for two years and, if that’s what she wants to do, I just want to push her as much as I can, while showing her all the aspects of the game.“
Madyson chimed in on the experience. “I was excited because I got to see players just like me play soccer!” she said.
After trailing the entire second half, NYCFC scored a goal in the 91st minute to tie the game. The final score was 2-2. We like to think the loud cheers roaring from our families and scholar athletes had something to do with the late rally.
After the game, the scholar athletes were excited and eager to get back to practice. SASC hopes to take second graders on trips to professional soccer games every year and continue to work toward establishing the value of practice and discipline in its players.
To learn more about Success Academy Club Soccer, read Bozic’s blog post about player development.