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9

Mar, 2020

RUSH PARTNERS WITH LITTLE HAITI FC TO CREATE FIRST REACH CLUB IN U.S.

Rush Soccer has partnered with Little Haiti FC (LHFC) in Miami, Florida to create the first Rush Equipment Assisting Children (REACH) club in the United States. REACH has over 30 international clubs and is proud to add Little Haiti FC to the growing numbers of clubs so that more kids can enjoy the beautiful game. Rush Soccer’s REACH Program collects used jerseys, soccer equipment, and soccer balls and then redistributes them to underprivileged children around the world.

 

 

Little Haiti FC is a non-profit in the Miami, Florida area that was started to serve the underprivileged population of the city and its surrounding communities:


“LHFC is the only free youth soccer program we know of in Florida,” Board Member Pat Santangelo states. “Most of our players are from hard working, very low income families. LHFC gets by thanks to local businesses and a few sponsors stepping up to keep us going.”


The opportunities that kids are exposed to while playing at the club seem to transfer into the classroom as well: 


“One hundred percent of our players, who academics classify as very high risk youth, have graduated high school over the past four and a half years LHFC has been in existence. Eighty percent of our players went on to college, most with scholarships,” Santangelo continues. 


The Little Haiti FC Team recognizes the passion that young players have for soccer in their area on their website:


“Despite limited after-school opportunities for organized soccer clubs in Miami’s Haitian-American neighborhoods, demand remains exceptionally strong due to the sport’s popularity and following among the Haitian immigrant community here.”


Technical Director of LHFC, Pablo Gentile, is very excited for the opportunities that the kids in Little Haiti will have from this partnership:


“There are some talented young boys and girls in the Little Haiti soccer community who will benefit from the opportunities that lay ahead, whether it be educational support, part-time DA status with Miami Rush, or college exposure from Rush staff across the country.  The untapped talent in this community will now have a platform to showcase their talent. It will be up to them to work hard and play their part, but they will have opportunities.”



Little Haiti FC is proud to be a part of such a big club like the Rush, with the support and resources available,” Pablo continues. “We have already been welcomed and supported by many in the Rush staff and we are looking forward to connecting our young, humble soccer players to such a vast, experienced and respected organization.”


Pablo is also looking forward to the coaching opportunities that this partnership will introduce, including coaching education and curriculum. This partnership benefits all, including the Rush. 


“Having a club like Little Haiti be a part of the REACH program will enhance the visibility of it and expose the club to a new city, a new culture and another pool of talented, passionate soccer players trying to live the American dream,” Pablo exclaimed. “Hopefully years from now, we will look back and have some examples of the positive impact this partnership has had on kids, the club and the Little Haiti community.”

 

Little Haiti FC is a club that aligns with many of the Core Values at Rush Soccer. Humility is one that is evident in the heart of the staff and coaches there, as recognized by Pablo:

 

“Laleau Gomez, the President of the Club, the Board of Directors, and the coaching staff at Little Haiti FC make no money from this. The coaches are out there 5-6 days a week, and do not get paid.  They are in it for the kids and their community. Their work goes beyond the soccer field; the coaches, staff and the Board provide transportation, among other things, but more importantly act as mentors for the young boys and girls. Humility is all around. Little Haiti is a humble, hard-working community, and the club represents that.” 

 

Passion and tenacity are noticeable to anyone that has ever been to Little Haiti soccer park. If the park is open and school is out, there will be kids playing on the field. Always.  And they are there after practice until the park manager closes the park and tells them they have to leave. Of course they have to have "one more shot" before they leave.

 

 

Located in the Southern tip of Florida, Little Haiti is an area of Miami that boasts strong and colorful Haitian culture. This culture came to Florida in the 1980s when many Haitians fled their homes and sailed to Florida. 


Pablo emphasized the impact that the sport of soccer has on the area:


“The Little Haiti community is passionate about soccer. The Haitian community has grown to over 300,000 in South Florida. Haitians come out in big numbers when the national team plays in South Florida as well as supporting their teams in amateur leagues and tournaments.”


According to a Learning English article, “Little Haiti is considered ‘the cultural heart of the Haitian diaspora’ in the United States.” This partnership is not only benefiting the players at Little Haiti FC, but it is also a step forward for the community in preserving the Hatian culture in the area. 


Rush is honored to be partnering with Little Haiti FC to come alongside and benefit not only the underprivileged soccer players there, but also the community as well. Soccer is a powerful passion and we are grateful to take part in enabling youth with these opportunities around the globe. 


If you are interested in how to get involved with REACH or looking for more information, click here!

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