Author Archives: guga

UNFC Appreciation Program


In recognition for the hard work and accomplishments in the school year thus far, students from the greater Bridgeport area will be rewarded with a special Succeed in Soccer, Excel in School Thanksgiving Program hosted by 501(c)3 non-profit UNFC.

The program will consist of a well thought out 2-hour program designed by experienced coaches to engage children in a team sport that promotes physical activity and utilizes the many different aspects of soccer to introduce team building, skill work, leadership, and a healthy lifestyle. The ultimate goal is to help children translate their dedication on the field into success in the classroom.

Location: The program will be hosted at Nathan Hale Middle School in Norwalk, CT.

Registration form (B.A.R.K. program participants only):

About Us

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

Fighting Obesity in Our Local Community

The prevalence of obesity in United States youth has increased dramatically in recent years. Overweight children are not only at risk of being overweight throughout their childhood and adult life, but the risk of development of certain medical and psychological conditions also increases.

Soccer is the perfect balance of exercise and leadership/team-building and confidence building for children who are obese, or at risk of becoming obese. Soccer gives us the ability to show kids that exercise can be fun! It also helps develop basic life skills that are transferable to all facets of life (leadership, discipline, teamwork and respect).

On June 25th, in Collaboration with the Optimus Health Clinic, Stamford based organization with the mission of improving the overall health of our communities in Bridgeport, Stamford, and Stratford, particularly the medically underserved. UNFC and Optimus hosted a one-day soccer camp for 75 kids and their parents with the goal of combating childhood obesity by teaching how exercising and healthy eating habits can be fun. STARS Program is a circuit training divided into 8 stations After the completion of each station kids receive a star. At the end of the circuit kids receive a prize.

STARS utilizes the many different aspects of soccer to introduce team building, leadership and healthy living styles. Optimus identified over 100 youth in Stamford that were, or at-risk-of-becoming, obese. Out of those 100, more than 70 spent a day with UNFC and 10 volunteer coaches engaging in 8 different stations focused on passing, agility, strength and nutrition, among others. McDermott said, “We showed these kids that exercise can be fun, not work. Not only did we show them skills and help them reach the height of their ability, but we had the chance to teach them leadership, respect and teamwork – things that will carry them throughout their whole lives.”



A Perfect Match – Haiti

In October 2009, UNFC Co-Founders Raphael Rezende and Gustavo Netto were introduced to Haiti Lumiere de Demain (HLD); a non-profit organization based in Stratford Connecticut dedicated to promoting literacy in primary and secondary schools in Haiti. In a joint effort, UNFC and HLD organized a soccer camp in Haiti with the goal of enlightening underprivileged children about the benefits of education and dedication to sports.


By engaging several sources, Raphael, Gustavo and HLD managed to collect 60 soccer balls, 30 pairs of cleats, 15 trophies, and hundreds of jerseys in a two-month period.

Soccer balls donated to UNFC Soccer boots donated to UNFC Jerseys donated to UNFC

On October 8, Raphael, Gustavo and volunteer Nikhil Gangaraju departed JFK Airport on a non-stop flight to Port Au Prince, Haiti.

UNFC Co-Founders, Gustavo Netto & Raphael Rezende UNFC Volunteer Nikhil Gangaraju Haiti Lumiere De Demain Office - La Gonave

Soccer Camp Day 1
Day 1 was comprised of two-hour morning and afternoon sessions consisting of drills, tactics, and scrimmages.

Soccer Camp Day 2
The children played two remarkable halves of soccer and the coaches were ecstatic with both teams’ performances.

Award ceremony
Day 2 was concluded with an awards ceremony and a powerful speech from the coaches on how dedication to education and sports has influenced their personal and professional careers. 1 MVP was nominated from each team and awarded a backpack, full soccer uniform set and a pair of soccer cleats. 10 other players were selected to receive soccer jerseys.

Match MVPs awarded with full uniform set and a backpack



UNFC and HLD would like to thank the following individuals and organizations for their contribution: 
Angela Grindle  
Joe Nelly  
Victoria Brookman 
Britt Reynolds  
Kurt Putnam  
GHS Soccer Booster Club 
Egidio Lavorgna
Margaret Conroy  
Levon Kazarian (Platinum Team Sponsor) 
Evandro da Silva
Marcony Simoes  
The Kyriakos Group (Platinum Team Sponsor) 
Fern Lindsay  
Naiara Azpiri  
RNunes Soccer Academy 
Jeff Paul  
Nikhil Gangaraju  
Rowayton Civic Association 
Joanna Carnevale
Sharon Souther  
Soccer Post – Fairfield, CT