My name is Yadiel Vargas. I am a South Bronx United student/athlete and I am 14 years old. I came to this country two and a half years ago from the Dominican Republic without knowing any English. South Bronx United is the second club that I have ever been part of. Since I first started at South Bronx United, I knew it would have a special place in my heart. Through SBU I have learned a lot about how to be a better person on and off the field. My experience at SBU has been very impactful for me, and I’ve learned powerful lifelong lessons. 

When I first tried out for SBU’s team, I was confident that I was going to make the cut. I was so sure because I believed that I was good at soccer and that was all I needed. Sadly, I did not make the team. Not being accepted was really hard on me, and I knew that the way I played had to change. I used to play very individualistically, and instead, I needed to play with a “team-first mentality.” I was motivated to make the team the next season. My older brother was accepted on the team for his age, and I felt that I was as good as him. I then decided to try out for the team one year older than me. I knew it would be a challenge, but felt ready to tackle it. I ended up making the older team that my brother was on, even after not making the team for my age group. This showed me that if I want something bad enough and work hard for it even though it may seem impossible, I could accomplish it.

After I joined SBU, my coach asked me to play goalkeeper and all I could think was that he was crazy. I had never played or even thought about playing that position before. I decided to talk to Bridget at SBU, who was a Division 1 College goalkeeper and get her advice. I told her that playing this position that I didn’t know and having my team rely on me as the last line of defense felt like too much pressure. Bridget gave me great advice. She said, “while you are playing this new position, think of your best moment on the field where you did something amazing that you never thought you could and ended up helping your team.” During an important game, playing goalkeeper, I did exactly what Bridget suggested and it gave me all my confidence back. 

I learned in both of these examples that even though things may seem impossible if you try and give your all, things will turn out well. Thanks, SBU for teaching me so much and for helping me believe in myself.