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Breaking Barriers Workshop 2019 Presenters and Topics

Andrew So
South Bronx United
Andrew So

Andrew So has served as Executive Director of South Bronx United since co-founding the nonprofit organization in 2009 with his wife.

In ten years, it has grown from a single youth soccer team supported by a friends and family to a multi-service youth development organization with an annual budget of $1.1 million. Each year, the organization must fundraise more than 95 percent of its budget.  South Bronx United now reaches more than 1,100 boys and girls, starting with children as young as 4 and continuing with services through college.  Its programs combine recreational and travel soccer with academic enrichment, college prep and guidance, mentoring, leadership development, immigration legal services, and other individual and family supports.  100 percent of high school seniors in the SBU Academy, its core program, go on to graduate and 94 percent of graduates in the past six years have enrolled in college. In comparison, the South Bronx—the poorest congressional district in the last U.S. Census—had a graduation rate of just 51 percent.  In 2018, the U.S. Soccer Foundation awarded South Bronx United with its 2nd annual Impact Award.

Previously, Andrew taught mathematics and special education and served as a special education administrator at a public secondary school in the South Bronx. He has also supported New York City public schools as a math instructional coach and worked with Bronx youth in various other capacities from summer counselor to athletic coach.  Andrew received a B.S. from Stanford University and earned an M.S.Ed. in Middle School General and Special Education from the Bank Street College of Education in New York. He is a former trustee of the Cosmopolitan Junior Soccer League, the nation’s oldest youth soccer league, and a former chair of the Bronx Nonprofit Coalition. 



Stephanie McArdle
South Bronx United
SJM-Headshot [1]

Stephanie McArdle has grown Beyond Soccer from its grass roots (12 girls on the first travel soccer team) to a year-round, sports-based youth development organization, now serving thousands of youth in Lawrence, Massachusetts, a low-income, majority Hispanic city north of Boston.

Stephanie, who captained the University of Michigan Women’s Soccer Team for two years, recognizes the power of sport to lift kids out of difficult situations. She started her Beyond Soccer journey in 2006 after discovering Lawrence had no youth soccer program, and its high school, of 3,000 students, did not field a girl’s team. It was a stark contrast to her childhood, just 2 towns over in Boxford, MA, which supported hundreds of youth teams, plus overflowing rosters at Masconomet Regional High School. That void served as Stephanie’s early motivation to recruit that first group of middle school females and prepare them for competition in the Essex County travel league. Buoyed by their success, which took many years of hard work, along with the help of her family, especially her mother Ellen, who currently serves as town registrar, and sister Lindsey, as Beyond Soccer’s Health & Wellness Director, she added boy’s teams, engaged volunteer coaches, sponsored kids to attend numerous soccer camps and indoor leagues, and began cementing community partnerships. 


John Maconga
Boston Scores

John joined Boston Scores as Executive Director in 2010. He is responsible for the organization's overall executive management, including strategy development, strategic partnerships and major donor advancement.

John has over 15 years of non-profit executive management experience. Prior to his transition to the non-profit sector, he practiced law for ten years in both private practice and as in-house counsel.


Ben Green
Old Colony YMCA
Ben Green

Ben is the Associate Executive Director of Stoughton YMCA, and is responsible for the oversite of Soccer in the Old Colony YMCA region. Old Colony YMCA’s soccer Leagues are committed to the development of the fundamentals of youth soccer. By providing a creative and fun environment we will establish a structured and positive atmosphere for youth in the game of soccer. The Old Colony YMCA is committed to providing access to the sport of soccer for all.

With a background in coaching for the last 8 years at both the High School and College level. Ben has playing experience encompassing both College soccer as well as playing overseas in England. He brings enthusiasm and passion for the sport of soccer to his community by providing access to as many youth as possible.

Megan Fligg
Megan Fligg

Fligg has been a member of the UKSD team since its conception. Shortly after graduating from Colby- Sawyer college where she played soccer, she began to coach for UKSD after school programs and vacation clinics. As her passion for the mission grew and her desire to help provide affordable coaching and mentorship to youth regardless of elements such as their background, gender, race, or socioeconomic status, she took on more of a leadership role within the organization. She now helps to design and implement programs and curriculum both here in the U.S. and overseas. In addition to being an educator at Barnstable High School, she is also the assistant Varsity Girl’s soccer coach. 

While also furthering her academic education and pedagogy knowledge, she has continued her coaching education through obtaining various coaching certifications. Fligg’s work with UKSD transcends beyond the soccer field into her life in the classroom and beyond. 


Lee "Doc" Docherty

Doc has been involved in the game of soccer his whole life, playing and coaching at various levels throughout the world. Upon leaving the British Army, Doc has dedicated himself to coaching soccer players of all ages, helping players reach their fullest potential both on and off the field. 

Doc founded UKSD as a way to not only bring soccer to all players regardless of race, gender, and socio-economic circumstances, but to use the game to help teach life skills to each participant, while developing leadership traits and creating opportunities for young people to become actively engaged within their own communities, and others around the world, through community service and social issue education. 



Laura Suroviak
Cultural Exchange Through Soccer
Laura CETS

Laura Suroviak grew up playing soccer in Lebanon, CT and went to Clark University to play soccer. There, she fell in love with the city of Worcester and its vibrant immigrant communities. Instead of playing soccer, Laura got involved in community organizing, laced her cleats in neighborhood fields, and founded Cultural Exchange Through Soccer (CETS) in 2003.

CETS empowers youth from diverse communities to play, share, and teach soccer and to become leaders to improve Worcester. Hundreds of youth have participated in CETS, and many continue to be involved as mentors or leaders that organize the Worcester World Cup. Now, fifteen years later, CETS has a youth-led Steering Committee and offers three youth programs in Worcester: Youth Leaders (ages 14-24), Youth Squad (ages 13-19), and Skill Builders (ages 7-12). CETS also organizes two events each year: EPIC U18 Invitational and the Worcester World Cup, and leads the Coalition for More Worcester Soccer Fields. Throughout her years leading CETS, Laura has been honing her skills as a youth worker, and CETS youth participants have proved to be great teachers. 



Sean Ndebele
New England Revolution / Good Sports
Sean Ndebele

Sean is the Community Relations Coordinator for the New England Revolution. As the Community Relations Coordinator, Sean is responsible for all of the Revolution’s community and philanthropic efforts, as well as managing the New England Revolution Charitable Foundation. Prior to working for the Revolution, Sean worked for the Bloomington Cutters Soccer Club in Bloomington, IN. Sean served as the Community Outreach Coordinator and as a coach for several boys’ and girls’ teams. Sean is also the Secretary of the Good Sports Young Professionals Board. As the Secretary of the Board, Sean primarily focuses on the administrative needs of the board, as well as promoting, raising awareness, and fundraising for Good Sports’ mission.

Sean was born in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe and attended Indiana University, where he received a Bachelor of Science in Sport Communication and minors in Sport Management and Marketing, Business, Spanish, and Coaching. Sean also has a certificate in International Franchise Law from the University of New South Wales and a certificate in Football (Soccer) History from Edinburgh University. He is currently attaining a Maters of Sports Leadership in Professional Sports Administration from Northeastern University.



Maren Rojas
Edgework Consulting

Maren is entering her 4th year of work with Edgework.  She is responsible for design, delivery and implementation of the Performance Edge.  Informed by the latest brain science and designed with high performing teams and athletes in mind, this dynamic set of workshops gives managers, leaders, coaches, and athletes the understanding and tools to elevate and maintain individual and team performance through empowering leadership, increasing resilience and deepening communication and accountability within teams.

In conjunction with her work with managers, coaches, athletes, teams, organizations and colleges, Maren has also been involved with many of Edgework Consulting’s trauma-informed interventions.  She has worked with Kids Play International, Legacy Youth Tennis, Newtown Parks and Recreation Department, Spirit of Soccer, Up2Us and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada.

Prior to her time at Edgework Consulting, Maren spent 20 years in full-time coaching women’s soccer at the university and professional levels.  She has been a clinician at the NSCAA National convention, holds her USSF ‘A’ license and NSCAA ‘Advanced National’ diploma.  Maren has been working with US Youth National teams at the U16 and U18 age groups for the past few years.

Maren is a graduate of The College of William and Mary where she earned a B.S. in fine art.  She also earned her M.A. in art education at Syracuse University.

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