Sport is a resource for all, regardless of socio-economic and cultural background.
The Soccer Program, which has been implemented by Success Academy Charter Schools in New York since 2006, aims to give all children, regardless of background and financial means, the opportunity to take the field and include football in their school routines, aiming at individual development and, at the same time, a positive and inclusive evolution of the entire US football movement.
The Soccer Program was created with the aim of making football open to everyone, regardless of background, race, religion or financial means. Contrary to much of the rest of the world, football in the United States is considered a ‘privileged’ sport, not accessible to the majority of the population due to the pay-to-play model. The differences in access to the sport are even more pronounced in a deeply multicultural context such as New York City, which is characterised by profound social inequalities.
As a result, Success Academy operates primarily in the Brooklyn, Manhattan (Harlem), Queens and Bronx areas, where many families are either economically and socially disadvantaged or do not have the financial means to provide their children with a quality education, let alone the opportunity to take part in a paid sports course. The Success Academy wants to contribute to a slow but steady socio-cultural change, giving the most disadvantaged children the chance to enjoy quality sporting and educational training, and at the same time nurturing the development of the entire US football landscape, particularly with regard to the public education system.
Since 2014, the Soccer Program has welcomed more than 6,000 boys and girls, aged 5 to 15, to the field, attending charter schools in the New York neighbourhoods involved in the project, 85% of whom come from low-income households. What characterises the football programme most is the great gender and, above all, ethnic diversity: 76% of the children are African American, 15% are Latino, 1% Asian and a further 3% are multi-ethnic. The ultimate goal of the SA Soccer Program is to include a total of 10,000 children and young people in the school football programme by 2024.