Southeast Florida. is a unique area in so many ways. But one local non-profit is combining mentorship, volunteering and soccer to help minority youths.
The C. Square Foundation is a South Florida – based 501(c)3 youth development organization program, utilizing soccer, volunteering activities and mentorship programs, as a means of promoting social development among mainly the area’s minority and disenfranchised population. C. Square program serves youths in the Boynton Beach, Delray Beach, Lake Worth, Greenacres and West Palm Beach communities, focusing on boys and girls all ages.
A soccer club known as the Palm Beach Spartans FC have been spawned by the Foundation’s efforts. The Spartans were created to bridge the gap of the “pay to play” system that usually disenfranchise the lower income families, giving kids and adults the opportunity to play the beautiful game, the world game. The PBSFC/C. Square subsidize close to 100% of all costs its players. This has been achieved through the engaging of the local community and national/global partners to offset these cost through sponsorships opportunities and scholarships.
The United States has a system where what is a working class sport in other parts of world has become a suburban upper middle class sport here. Football (soccer) has become a business where a parents the ability to pay thousands of dollars a year for top youth clubs has become a system to weed out talent. It is also one of only a handful of countries that does not organize its amatuer and professional pyramid based on sporting merit but rather on market size and wealth of the owners.
Despite all these hurdles PBSFC have been able to use the sport of football (soccer) as a gateway to tackle many other social issues such racism, poverty, environmental awareness, mentorship, job skills and leadership training, among others. They aim to teach each subsequent generation to dream with unbridled intentand without reservations. The Spartans teach those in its football programs that the sky is the limit and no one should be handicapped by their socio-economic situation. They should only be limited by vision, work ethic and dedication.
Cheddi J. Johnson, the Spartan’s President and Founder says ““It’s not just about Football” for these guys. It’s a sense of pride and accomplishment. A belief that anything is possible if you truly work hard, dedicate yourself and have a club, an organization, a community or an army, supporting your efforts and giving you the opportunities and a platform to succeed.”
In 2017, Johnson had told me “the goal of the programs are to empower and strengthen the young minds and bodies of our minority youth, so that they may see beyond their individual socio-economic circumstances and strategically strive towards their dreams and aspirations with relentless conviction”. Since that conversation the Spartans have become incredibly successful not just off the field in building young leaders but on the pitch where they are constantly competing for trophies and other honors.
From a football standpoint the club has had some major success. Playing at a high level in both the Gold Coast Premier League and the United Premier Soccer League. The club streams all its home games via a partnership with Magic City Soccer, an outstanding Miami-based soccer news and video provider.
The Spartans have shown how soccer can work in unprivileged communities as well as how the sport can be a gateway for young people to pursue other goals in life.
You can help fund the Spartans here.