UNFC’s mission is to deliver inspirational youth soccer programs centered on leadership, teamwork, discipline and respect in order to enrich lives in the communities we serve.
UNFC’s history is summarized in one simple formula:
One Passion + One Inspiration + One Opportunity + One Vision = UNFC
UNFC co-founders and life-long soccer enthusiasts, Raphael Rezende and Gustavo Netto, were teammates for 3 years at Sacred Heart University where they played Division I collegiate soccer. Apart from the enjoyment of playing the sport, they’ve always been appreciative of the opportunities it has offered, such as meaningful, long-lasting, friendships and athletic scholarships that aided in the successful completion of their education. This deep-seeded admiration has been exemplified by how soccer has helped shape them as individuals. In particular, they have focused on 4 key points that are crucial to succeeding as a soccer player and citizen: leadership, teamwork, discipline, and respect.
One Sunday morning, Gustavo came across a video that both touched his heart and made him question his purpose… he wondered, “Do I need to be a super star to make a difference?” He shared this question with Raphael, who similarly wondered what it took to provide today’s youth with the same opportunities he was granted as a child. Together, they began brainstorming ideas on how to harness their passion and drive, and bring people together around a sport that has the ability to unite people from different nations and change lives. Embracing this urge to do more, they began to reach out to organizations and people who were already touching the lives of the youth around them.
Early in 2009 Raphael and Gustavo were introduced to Haiti Lumiere de Demain, a non-profit organization based in Stratford, Connecticut that promotes literacy in primary and secondary schools in Haiti. HLD became acquainted with their vision and found it directly aligned with theirs. An invitation was extended to travel with HLD to Haiti to develop and execuate a program for 80 students chosen by their academic drive and success.
On October 8, 2009, Raphael and Gustavo embarked on a trip to the island of La Gonave, Haiti to host a two-day soccer camp. As certified coaches, lifelong players, and soccer enthusiasts, they were ready to give back. Directors and volunteers put together a plan centered on four focal points: leadership, team work, discipline, and respect that engaged over 500 members of the local community in a program to enlighten them on how education and dedication to sports can lead to a bigger and brighter future. This would give birth to what is now one of UNFC’s signature programs – Succeed in Soccer, Excel in School!
Upon their return from Haiti, Gustavo and Raphael felt empowered and motivated to make change. Realizing that they are only two of many that shared the same passion, they began to seek out other individuals that had the desire to reach out and inspire the youth in the communities around them through soccer. Discovering that there are children everywhere that love to play the game, but do not have access to programs, UNFC endeavored to fill this void. It was then that UNFC, the non-profit organization, was born. Through its programs, UNFC offers children the opportunity to discover and experience the joy that is soccer.
That is what UNFC stands for, and will continue to strive toward: sharing our passion and developing inspirational soccer programs to develop future leaders and inspire the communities we serve.
We hope that you will join us and become part of the movement.
Developing Leaders. Inspiring Communities. Serving our World