June: Cross-site Soccer League

With generous funding provided by the NYC Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD), Center for Family Life launched our first-ever cross-site soccer league in February of 2024. Our free program operated across 6 Center for Family Life sites in Sunset Park at PS 1, PS 503/506, PS 94, PS 169, PS 516, and PS 971. Our Neighborhood Youth Soccer Program served elementary and middle school youth, who otherwise may not have had the financial resources to join a soccer team or the experience to be selected for a competitive league.

At the start of the program, CFL staff organized 14 co-ed teams of youth, from ages 10 to 13. All participants were registered on a first-come-first-serve basis and no prior experience was required.

Staff also recruited high school students to assist in implementing sports practices, games, and other activities for participants. This provided high schoolers with the opportunity to build leadership skills and to earn an incentive of up to $400 while serving as mentors to younger youth in the program.


During the first two months of the league, participants attended weekly practices where they received skill-based instruction from CFL coaches, who were trained by Street Soccer USA, a national nonprofit. In addition to offering coaching and safety trainings, Street Soccer USA provided neutral referees for cross-site games.

Official games kicked off in April, as teams faced off against other sites. The league centered on fellowship and community-building, allowing youth to engage in friendly competition with no scores being recorded. In addition, all participants played for equal time, regardless of athletic ability or skill level. This created a safe and inclusive environment, where all players felt valued and appreciated.

Each game was highly attended by family members who came to support youth and to cheer on their teams. Throughout the season, parents shared valuable feedback that led to ongoing program improvements. They expressed how thankful they were to have this opportunity for their children. Our partnership with parents and their investment in the program’s success were a major highlight of this new initiative.


Teams enjoyed playing on professional soccer turf at Soccer Roof in Sunset Park!

After a series of cross-site games and a final grand tournament, the program came to a close with our Award Ceremony on June 7th. At the ceremony, players and their families came together and enjoyed a shared meal to celebrate the accomplishments of participants over the past several months. Players were thrilled to connect one last time with coaches and fellow teammates as they proudly collected their certificates and awards.


We are incredibly grateful to DYCD’s Neighborhood Youth Team Sports Program for funding that provided 120 young people with the opportunity to join a soccer team and gain valuable skills while strengthening our community.

We are eager to build on the enthusiastic engagement of youth and families and on the success of this year’s inaugural soccer league. We appreciate any donations to support our capacity to continue cross-site sports programming in the future.

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