By Randy Vogt, Director of Public Relations, Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association
January 4, 2024-South Bronx United, the Cosmopolitan Junior Soccer League (CJSL) club that utilizes soccer as a vehicle for social change, is pleased to announce the opening of the Clubhouse Café on Monday, January 8. The cafe is a coffee shop dedicated to providing real-world job training to young adults. The Clubhouse Café is located at 812 River Avenue, just one block from Yankee Stadium, and will be one of the only coffee shops in the South Bronx’s Concourse neighborhood.
The cafe will expand upon South Bronx United’s programs that engage children and young people through soccer while offering academic enrichment, college prep programs, mentoring, immigration legal services and other family supports. South Bronx United’s impact is felt through the thousands of children who have participated in its community programs and through graduates of the SBU Academy, where 100% of its high school seniors since 2011 have graduated high school and 94% have matriculated into college.
In order to expand its community impact, the organization has partnered with local New York City Colombian coffee roaster Devoción. The roaster sells the “freshest coffee” available in the USA at its five locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn, going from farm-to-cup in as little as 10 days.
“Devoción is thrilled to work with South Bronx United in providing job training and career opportunities to the next generation while making the Clubhouse Café our first partner in the Bronx. South Bronx United already delivers crucial programs to youth and families in the Bronx, so there was no better organization to work with on this,” explained Devoción CEO Steven Sutton, who launched the company in 2006.
Another key partner in the project is Harney & Sons, a family-led fine tea brand with an international reputation and shop in the Manhattan section of SoHo. Sweets and pastries are sourced from South Bronx bakeries Mottley Kitchen and Sully & Vanilla.
The opening of the Clubhouse Café enables South Bronx United to strengthen its college and career success services through a new workforce development program for underemployed young people, ages 16-24. The program will help participants build job skills, cultivate a potential career and secure long-term employment through weekly workshops and on-the-job training. During a six-month cohort, program fellows are employed in the Café Fellowship as baristas and food/hospitality staff or on the soccer field as coaches and mentors through the Coaching Corps. Ultimately, the program aims to help fellows gain full-time employment either in food service and hospitality or sports, transition into employment or a training program for another career of interest or pursue a full-time college degree.
“We are excited to finally open our doors at the Clubhouse Café,” stated South Bronx United Executive Director Andrew So, the 2020 Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA) and East Region Administrator of the Year. “This area has long lacked a spot with a neighborhood feel for residents, workers and even tourists and fans to stop in for a coffee or tea, for a meet-up or a quick workspace. Now they can do so while also supporting an important cause. With every cup and every purchase, guests will be giving our young adults something they’ve been asking for job training, professional skills and a potential entrance into a career.”
The first employment cohort launched in July with 12 young women and men, including seven who participated in the Café Fellowship. They completed barista training at Devoción’s state-of-the-art education lab in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Please drop into the Clubhouse Café to meet the Fellows behind the counter and continue their training.
With over 100,000 youth soccer players––both boys and girls––and more than 25,000 volunteers, the non-profit Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA) stretches from Montauk Point, Long Island to the Canadian border. Members are affiliated with 10 leagues throughout the association, which covers the entire state of New York east of Route 81. ENYYSA exists to promote and enhance the game of soccer for children and teenagers between the ages of 5 and 19 years old, and to encourage the healthy development of youth players, coaches, referees and administrators. All levels of soccer are offered––from intramural, travel team and premier players as well as Children With Special Needs. No child who wants to play soccer is turned away. ENYYSA is a proud member of the United States Soccer Federation and US Youth Soccer. For more information, please log on to http://www.enysoccer.com/