Not Just for Kicks: Soccer and Leadership at Upcoming Tournament


For the past few months, I’ve been organizing a soccer team comprised of my students in my English as a Second Language class and members of the day laborer community who are going to participate in the Unity Project’s soccer tournament.

In addition to working on rainbow kicks and dribbling, we’ve also been honing our communication skills, listening techniques, self-esteem, and ability to work as a team, all with the objective of becoming better leaders (scoring a goal or two would be nice, as well).

As the project coordinator of the Unity Project – an initiative of the United Way of Long Island that seeks to address issues related to immigration through education and community building – I am always looking for unique, fun ways to engage and strengthen the community. On October 16, the Unity Project will be hosting the “Goals for Unity” soccer tournament in Brentwood, an event that aims to unify and educate immigrant residents by enhancing leadership and communication skills through soccer. We will kick off the first game at noon between the Unity Project and Workplace Project teams, followed by a game between Southside Hospital and Pronto of Long Island.

As I mentioned, our Unity Project team is preparing for the tournament by building our leadership and communication skills, and one of the ways we did that was on a ropes course in Amityville run by Project CARE.  (See pictures below).

The soccer tournament will also coincide with an information fair where community members can connect with organizations and learn about available services and rights. For information about how to participate in this event, you can contact me at or visit the Unity Project’s website at

What: Goals for Unity

Where: La Espiguita Soccer Academy, 1795 Brentwood Road, Brentwood

When: Sunday, October 16, from noon-3pm

Who: The Unity Project, The Workplace Project, NSLIJ – Southside Hospital, Pronto of Long Island, and more.

Here are some pictures from our training at the ropes course:


A total of 23 people fit onto this wood platform!



The high ropes challenge.



Our team at Project CARE.

Amber Sroka is the project coordinator of the Unity Project, a project of United Way of Long Island.

Feature image by Matthew Foglino.