From left to right: Staisy Barrera, Matilda Kocaj, and Giselle Flores at the Women’s Sports Foundation Annual Salute on October 19th

“My head was hurting, I was shaking, and I just wanted to get this over with. All I could think about was all the ways I could mess up.  I was looking forward to the event but the speech got me feeling really nervous especially since I would meet famous athletes.  I met Claressa Shields, Ashleigh Johnson, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Ibtihaj Muhammad, and many more. When I met Claressa Shields, she was really funny.  She seemed a bit nervous but she was acting like a pro. She told me it would be okay.  Throughout the event, people told me it would be fine.

The rehearsal made me feel comfortable about how I would say my speech. And I actually felt good by the time I said my speech and it was a success.

In the end, this event helped give the message that women are equal to men. Woman also matter. Women can do the same things that men and boys can do. I found new inspirations too. This event was the Women Sports Foundation. It helps girls play sports and makes them feel they can be something and that women are something.”

  • Staisy Barrera, 12, SBU Soaring Stars

SBU Academy student-athlete Staisy Barrera had the chance to speak at the 37th Women’s Sports Foundation Annual Event which took place on October 20, 2016 at Cipriani Wall Street, New York City. The annual event honors women and their achievements in sports. Olympic gold medalists Ashleigh Johnson, and Claressa Shields, who made history at this summer’s Rio Olympics by becoming the first athlete to ever win back to back gold in boxing, were amongst the four women athletes being honored for their accomplishments in sports that evening. The donations raised during the event went towards The Women’s Sports Foundation’s Sports 4 Life program which aims to nationally expand the involvement of African American and Hispanic girls in sports. Staisy was one of three girls who had the opportunity to attend the annual event and meet women athletes such as bronze medalist Ibitaj Muhammad.  SBU coach-mentor and alumnus Delmy Del Cid also attended along with youth counselor Bridget Mahon.  Earlier this year, South Bronx United became a 2016 recipient of the Sports 4 life program.

South Bronx United became one of 40 organizations to receive funding from the sports 4 life program, which is expected to serve 10,000 more middle schools and high schools across the country. The program’s goal is to build leadership in girls through sports, predominantly African American and Hispanic girls who are more at risk of health conditions such as diabetes and obesity. South Bronx United  began offering girls specific soccer programming in 2011 and now offers girls from four years old to high school the opportunity to play recreational soccer or soccer on a travel team. The Women’s Sports Foundation will be accepting applications throughout this fall for 2017, for more information visit

SBU girls had the opportunity to meet 2016 Olympic Medalist Ibtihaj Muhammed of the Team USA Fencing Team