Category Archives: Programs

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