Champions Soccer Academy

Soccer Boosts Confidence in School


From 2012, honored to have interviewed Mayor Steven Fulop for one of our very first thislearning® episodes.



We're here with Councilman [now Mayor] Steve Fulop at the Champions Soccer Academy to talk about what works in learning and education. 

He just scored a goal!


There we go.

"Champions Soccer! Champions Soccer!"

A hundred and twenty children involved in this league. It is growing every single year. It's a testament to the parent and coaching staff to make this possible.

A big part of a student's progress and education is actually determined by factors outside of school, up to 2/3. How does a program like this help them learn, help them be educated better?

This works to some basic principles of teamwork. It helps us work with parents and helps us understand a little bit more the parents that are engaged and less engaged, and where to target our resources over all. What happens in the household, and what happens when the teachers aren't around, are of critical importance. I think that everybody acknowledges that regardless of where you are on the education reform spectrum, there are socio-economic factors that play a big role in how a kid does on the educational front. This is the future obviously of a City, this is the future of a country, but the skills that they develop on little skills like this are hugely beneficial. That's going to expand over the next 5, 10, 15 years, hopefully, to other aspects of their life.

This is the first year we've reached out to the special needs community, with a soccer team and soccer program. We have four this year, and we obviously have instructors. It's a different type of learning, but it's important – so this kind of thing is a huge resource. Edgar and Hector have been working on this for probably the better part of 6 months now, putting this together, and it will be part of the broader league.

This is definitely one of those things that definitely works. I'm happy that you're able to come out here and learn a little bit about what is working with parents and what is working with the kids, with recreation, and how it ties into education. It's a hugely beneficial thing to Jersey City.

It's an important thing for our community and their learning.

For sure, this is something that works.





We visited with Mayor and former-Councilman Steven Fulop, and the players, families, and staff at the Champions Soccer Academy in Jersey City, NJ, to talk about the two-thirds factor and how Champions Soccer Academy is helping parents be involved in their children’s education while strengthening local communities and improving confidence in school.

“…Decades of social science research have demonstrated that differences in the quality of schools can explain about one-third of the variation in student achievement. But the other two-thirds is attributable to non-school factors…” –How to Fix Our Schools (links below)

It’s been reported and discussed that two-thirds of the factors that influence a child’s educational progress occur outside of the classroom. Athletics and sports can be a large part of this by empowering learners through self-confidence, community, and health, while helping them develop focus, resiliency, and passion. Parental involvement is a key part of this success.  Originally Recorded: May, 2012. Available in HD.

Why It Works

  1. combines health, fitness, and achievement for whole body learning
  2. integrates intangibles, such as passion and leadership
  3. involves parents, community and multicultural aspects


Learn More

  • How to Fix Our Schools
    Richard Rothstein
    Research Associate of the Economic Policy Institute and Senior Fellow of the Chief Justice Earl Warren Institute on Law and Social Policy at the University of California (Berkeley) School of Law
  • Save Our Schools: Engaging Families and Communities (Presentation)
    Dr. George P. White
    Professor and Coordinator, Educational Leadership & Director, Center for Developing Urban Educational Leaders (CDUEL) at Lehigh University