Soccer Program Develops and Strengthens Students’ Social-Emotional Skills. Pilot Launching at Three Queens Schools, Reaching Over 300 Students
NEW YORK – Chancellor Carmen Fariña, FC Barcelona Vice President Jordi Cardoner and Goya Foods Director of Public Affairs Rafael Toro today announced the launch of FutbolNet, a program that uses soccer as a tool to help students develop and strengthen their social-emotional skills. Founded by the FC Barcelona Foundation, FutbolNet is launching in the U.S. for the first time this fall at three schools in Queens.
Students participating in the program will take part in a variety of soccer drills and exercises designed to enhance communication and teamwork skills, strengthen academic performance, develop conflict-resolution and problem-solving techniques, and promote respect and trust among students. The three schools participating in the pilot are I.S. 61 in Corona, I.S. 5 in Elmhurst and P.S. 277, a District 75 program in Long Island City.
“Team sports give students the opportunity to be active while also developing critical social-emotional skills that will help them succeed in the classroom and beyond,” said Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña. “I’ve seen firsthand how this sport helps develop communication skills, builds character, and teaches students how to resolve conflicts. I’m grateful to the FC Barcelona Foundation and Goya Foods for their partnership and look forward to bringing this program to schools in Queens this fall.”
FutbolNet currently serves more than 450,000 youth ages eight to 16 in over 54 different countries around the world, and this pilot marks the program’s U.S. launch. The DOE is also partnering on the initiative with Goya Foods, which will fund the program at each school.
Deputy Chancellor Elizabeth Rose announced the new partnership at I.S. 61 in Corona. She was joined by I.S. 61 students and staff, Goya Foods Director of Public Affairs Rafael Toro, FC Barcelona Vice President Jordi Cardoner, former FC Barcelona player and Club Ambassador Juliano Belletti, and local officials.
“We are thrilled to be the very first school district in the country to launch a FutbolNet program,” said Deputy Chancellor Elizabeth Rose. “This program provides students with an incredible opportunity to play soccer, stay active, and hone social-emotional skills that will serve them well throughout their lives.”
“FutbolNet has been a proven tool for promoting social inclusion, and preventing violence and school absenteeism among the most at-risk youth,” said FC Barcelona Vice President Jordi Cardoner. “The success of the FutbolNet program in more than 50 countries provides us with a solid foundation to launch the program in the U.S. New York City will be the first American city to introduce FutbolNet to kids in the States, which we hope to roll out nationally.”
“This is a wonderful opportunity for NYC school children to participate in a world-class organization, in an environment of self-respect and trust where interpersonal skills will be molded for a lifetime,” said Rafael Toro, Director of Public Affairs at Goya Foods.
The DOE will work closely with schools in the pilot to incorporate FutbolNet into their physical education curriculum or their afterschool programing. The physical education teachers at the three pilot schools will attend intensive professional development and training sessions hosted by the FC Barcelona Foundation this summer. The program also includes ongoing visits from FutbolNet educators, who will provide additional guidance and support throughout the fall.
“I couldn't imagine a more perfect place for my favorite club FC Barcelona to bring the beautiful game than Queens, the world’s borough,” said Assembly Member Francisco Moya. “Any day of the week you will find children kicking a soccer ball on the sidewalks, in the park, anywhere they can find a few feet to practice. FutbolNet will promote an active lifestyle and teamwork promoting the success of our children. I am so thankful to FC Barcelona and Goya for bringing this program not only to Queens, but to the neighborhood I grew up in at IS 61.”
The FC Barcelona Foundation will conduct an evaluation of the program’s implementation and impact this winter.