Community S’Hero of the Month – Players Development Academy
Players Development Academy, Inc. (PDA) is a non-profit corporation dedicated to the promotion and development of youth soccer in New Jersey. Founded in 1998, PDA has established itself as a youth soccer power both on and off the field, providing a soccer-specific environment for youth of all socio-economic backgrounds.
PDA prides itself in giving back to the community. For the past six years, PDA has hosted the PDA Soccer Marathon to benefit Special Olympics of New Jersey, donating over $260,000 while benefitting 22,000 Special Olympics New Jersey athletes. The 2015 PDA Soccer Marathon to benefit Special Olympics is schedule to take place January 23-24, 2015 at Branchburg Sports Complex.
“Genuine Jersey Pride defines Special Olympics New Jersey and celebrates the impact we have on all who participate,” says Marc Edenzon, President of SONJ. “Those privileged to witness the magic every time an athlete with an intellectual disability takes the field, scores a goal, achieves a personal best time, or simply experiences the joy of participation connects us all and further celebrates the pride in the athletes we serve.”
The PDA Soccer Marathon provides an opportunity for the PDA players to contribute to their club and to the community, while doing what they do best -- play soccer. The event has players/teams from throughout the club play a continuous soccer game for 24 hours for donations. Every team in the PDA organization participates in this 24-hour continuous soccer game, echoing the importance of giving back and forging a lasting partnership. The culminating point is held in the final hours of the marathon, when PDA players are joined by Special Olympians for a combined game and closing ceremony.
To learn more about the 2015 PDA Soccer Marathon to benefit Special Olympics, click here.
S'Heroes is part of the Amazing Young WomenTM campaign designed to showcase strong, successful women who embody the leadership ideals first learned and developed on the soccer fields of their youth. The ECNL is calling on all who love sports to join them in supporting youth female athletes as they recognize their own potential, define their individual paths to success, and prepare to be our next generation of leaders by visiting www.AmazingYoungWomen.com and using the hashtag #BeautifulAmbition.
Studies have shown that driving factors behind girls dropping out of sports include social stigma and limited exposure to the inspirational journeys trailblazed by positive role models. Too often player traits that are so valued by teams are not promoted as “beautiful” traits for young girls. By age 14, girls are dropping out of sports at two times the rate of boys. Amazing Young Women encourages young female athletes to embrace their ambitious, driven and competitive nature. And those recognized as S’Heroes have taken a spirit of leadership and inspiration from the field, and have demonstrated that it’s not just about a phase of your life, but a way of life.