Soccer’s Impact on New Brunswick’s Youth

As the weather turns colder here in New Brunswick, NJ, and we start a new year at New Brunswick Tomorrow, we fondly recall the hot summer months jam-packed with programming. With generous support from the U.S. Soccer Foundation, New Brunswick Tomorrow hosted the Bobadilla Summer Soccer Academy.  The Bobadilla Summer Soccer Academy is named after its creator, Captain Mike Bobadilla.  Captain Bobadilla created the camp seven years ago as a volunteer who saw a need for children to engage in positive activity in New Brunswick – a city that has more than 13 active gangs, and the lowest graduation rate in the county, at 68.5%.

Using soccer as a hook to engage children during the summer, we saw an opportunity to reinforce youth development on multiple levels.  Everything we did, and every decision made, was approached through a question: “What could make this an impactful program, where our kids could have fun, and we could sneak in some learning too?”

New Brunswick Tomorrow

The camp focused on different themes each week.  These themes were integrated into everything done at the camp, both on and off the field. Campers were introduced to new themes in a classroom, which were then transferred and reinforced on the soccer field.  These included:

Communication on and off the field” – campers learned the importance of communication, how to resolve conflict, and what non-verbal communication means.  Soccer trainers explained how important communication is on the field, while counselors translated that into daily life.

“I am important to my team” – campers learned about self-esteem, healthy eating, standing up for yourself, setting boundaries, and establishing individual values.  Soccer trainers taught specific skill sets and showed players how each of their unique roles fits into a team.

My team is important to me” – campers learned social skills – from anger management to healthy relationships, friendship and bullying.  Soccer trainers put this theme into practice, showing how teamwork is vital to success on the field.

We are important to the community” – building on everything they learned all summer, campers gave back to their communities.  Campers went through the five steps to a community service learning project, and completed a project of their own choosing.  We held food drives, a street clean up, wrote letters and made bracelets for domestic violence survivors, made sandwiches at the soup kitchen, and penned thank you letters to police officers.

Counselors and trainers met daily to discuss what was happening on the field and in the classroom.  Teamwork on the field turned into friendships in the classroom.

Did it work?  Were we successful?  In short, YES!

Here’s a snapshot by the numbers:

  • 188 campers registered for the camp – a 40% increase over the previous year—and we had a 74% average daily attendance

  • 23 high school junior counselors helped at the camp, learning peer mentoring and how to be a role model

  • 20% of our kids had not played soccer before camp.  Walking out of the program, more than 92% of all campers said they want to continue to play soccer

  • 83% of campers demonstrated knowledge of healthy eating and making healthy choices

  • 10 distinct community service projects were implemented in New Brunswick

I think the most telling sign of success lies within more informal ways of measuring, such as smiles, laughter and new friendships, all among children who were engaged and had a safe place to spend their summer vacation—five days a week for five weeks. These same children learned soccer moves and social skills.  They learned about themselves, and how awesome they are just the way they are.

So as it gets cold this winter, I know I’ll stay a little bit warmer knowing the warmth of next summer and camp is just around the corner.

Meredith Masin Blount is Senior Director of Youth Services at New Brunswick Tomorrow, a non-profit organization dedicated to enriching the lives of the people living in New Brunswick, NJ.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Join the U.S. Soccer Foundation in the movement to improve lives through soccer.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.


  • adidas


    adidas, the Foundation’s Safe Places to Play – Mini-Pitch Partner, supports providing children in underserved communities with safe play spaces nationwide. adidas strives to be the globally leading and most popular sporting goods brand. Dedicated to innovation,  adidas embraces creativity and seeks to be socially responsible in all facets of its brand. For more information, please visit

  • CHA


    CHA Sports, the Foundation’s Supplier for Soccer Facility Design and Planning Services, provides community partners with expertise in soccer facility design. CHA Sport’s full service approach allows the company to build world-class projects without breaking budgets. For more information, please visit

  • The DICK'S Sporting Goods Foundation

    The DICK'S Sporting Goods Foundation

    DICK’S Sporting Goods and The DICK’S Sporting Goods Foundation believe that participation in sports makes people better. Since 2014, DICK’S and The DICK’S Foundation have pledged more than $100 million to support youth sports teams and leagues in need.  Through our Sports Matter initiative we strive to increase awareness for underfunded youth athletics nationwide and provide much-needed support through equipment, uniform and monetary donations. For more information on Sports Matter, visit

  • Kwik Goal

    Kwik Goal

    Kwik Goal, the Foundation’s Official Supplier for goals, seating, boundary equipment, training equipment and coaching accessories, will be supporting a variety of Foundation programs and initiatives including: Soccer for Success, National Training and the Safe Places to Play program. Over thirty years ago, Kwik Goal was founded on the revolutionary concept of providing transportable goals for coaches at all age levels. Since that time, Kwik Goal has continued to focus on helping coaches and soccer programs create safe and dynamic learning environments by supplying high quality, safety tested soccer goals, field equipment and training equipment to the domestic and international market. For more information, please visit



    MLS WORKS, Major League Soccer’s community outreach initiative, is dedicated to addressing important social issues and serves as a platform for both League and club philanthropic programs. MLS WORKS seeks to establish Major League Soccer as a leader for improving the lives of people through sport. MLS WORKS is committed to improving the communities where we live and play our games by executing national programs and legacy projects, charitable giving campaigns, and undertaking various initiatives in underserved communities.

  • Musco


    As a proud corporate partner of the U.S. Soccer Foundation, Musco is dedicated to helping the major charitable arm of American soccer create new opportunities through high-quality sports lighting. Their Total Light Control—TLC for LED™ technology is engineered as a system with lighting, structural, and electrical components designed to work together for streamlined installation and long-term reliability. TLC for LED delivers superior field lighting while eliminating glare and spill from impacting surrounding neighborhoods. And Musco’s long-term warranty covering parts and labor means U.S. Soccer Foundation partners don’t have to handle any maintenance on their system, or pay for it, for 25 years. Visit to learn more about the grant program and application process.

  • SCORE Sports

    SCORE Sports

    SCORE Sports, the preferred provider of shin guards to the Foundation’s Soccer for Success program, is a family-owned and operated business specializing in sports equipment, uniforms and apparel. SCORE is an industry leader and has been involved in the sports community for over 40 years. SCORE outfits athletes with high-quality uniforms that SCORE develops, designs and manufactures in the U.S. SCORE takes pride in working with various non-profit groups and causes to give back to athletes who may need some extra support to play the game they love. SCORE is environmentally cautious with the materials it uses for its products and does its part in minimizing our environmental footprint. SCORE proudly offers a wide variety of products to provide customers with a one-stop shop for all your soccer needs. For more information, please visit

  •, the Foundation’s National Partner for Soccer Equipment and Uniforms, was founded in 1984 to provide high quality soccer gear at reasonable prices through its nationally circulated catalog. embodies a passion for the game that extends to the people who play, coach and support soccer. For more information, please visit




  • Target


    Target announced a national partnership with Safe Places to Play in 2017, along with a $6 million commitment to build 100 new soccer play spaces with the U.S. Soccer Foundation by 2020. This is the latest initiative in the Minneapolis-based retailer’s multi-dimensional approach to the sport of soccer, bringing the game to more kids and families across the country, and unlocking access and increasing involvement at all levels.

  • TGI Worldwide

    TGI Worldwide

    TGI Worldwide, the Foundation’s National Partner for Visual Branding (Signage, Event Décor, Pageantry, Sponsorship Activation), Perimeter Field Board Systems, Creative Services and Event Operations is proud to support a variety of initiatives and programs throughout the United States. Headquartered in the U.S., TGI is an internationally recognized sports marketing company delivering high profile Visual Branding, Live Event Management, LED, and cutting edge Digital Sports Applications to enrich the experience at major events and deliver commercial impact for sponsors and partners. The company has a 20-year history in providing its various solutions for many top-tier domestic and international events, organizations, teams and companies, with proven success and turn-key solutions across 1000+ events, 160+ cities and 50+ countries globally.

    For more information on our services, please visit or contact Mike Squire at / Phone: 312-371-5852.

  • World Soccer Shop

    World Soccer Shop

    Launched in 2001, World Soccer Shop is an online soccer retailer based in Birmingham, Alabama. It carries one of the world’s widest selections of officially-licensed products from the sport’s top brands and teams. World Soccer Shop is passionate about soccer and endeavors to spread the beautiful game around the world, especially to those in areas of need. For more information, please visit


Tweet or post on Facebook and show the world
that you believe in the power of soccer.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter