MEET Onix, ATLANTIC CITY'S FUTBOL GEM

We want to share a story that has touched our hearts and epitomizes what Next Gen USA is about - to inspire, educate and empower young soccer players to reach their potential both on and off the field. 

Several years ago, we found a young boy named Onix playing recreationally for a club called Youth in Motion in Atlantic City. We really liked him and understood from multiple conversations with his family that they could not afford for him to join a travel team. As such, we invited him to join Next Gen USA's Urban Promise Program. Through the generosity of many Next Gen USA friends and partners, Onix thrived in our Urban Promise Program and was able to attend one of our Residential IDF summer programs at the Golden Goal (N.Y.) Sports Complex. The IDF features international professional club coaches from Europe and South America and is a great learning environment for kids to stretch their boundaries in an inspirational learning environment. During the IDF, many of the coaches in attendance identified Onix as a player of great promise, and Onix was offered a roster spot on a Next Gen USA Select Squad which later traveled to Belgium to play in the u13 Champions League tournament, Cup Bassevelde.

The tournament featured youth teams from FC Barcelona, Real Madrid, PSG, Bayer Leverkusen, Club Brugge, Borussia Dortmund, Celtic and Ajax. Not only did Onix play well in this tournament, but he ended up winning the Golden Boot as top scorer in the competition! Watch his video below!

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As a result of his performance and right attitude to embrace challenges, we recommended Onix to one of the best youth development academies in Argentina, Club Atlético Banfield. Atlético has developed Colombian international sensation, James Rodriguez.

Atletico Liked what they saw and offered Onix the opportunity to play and train at their academy in Buenos Aires. Onix spent time at the Academy and saw first-hand, what it takes to compete, day in and day out, with the very best players in Buenos Aires - all of whom want what he wants, to become a professional player. 

Through a working collaboration with Onix’s family and relatives, he is now a full-time student at the Next Gen Leadership Academy. He recently completed his first year of study at the private school and has improved across all areas of his studies by working hand-in-hand with Principal Sam Gough (pictured, right) and members of the NGLA instructional team. On the field, Onix is thriving, too. But, we’re focused on keeping him focused at school so he can achieve his dream of graduating from high school and moving on to play in college or professionally. To get him to that point, we need to continue to mentor Onix and surround him with coaches, teachers and adult mentors who care about him as a person and as a team player.

There are more children like Onix who need your support. Please consider a gift to the Next Gen USA Scholarship Fund to help make the dream of a child in an underserved community come true. Onix’s story is unique and one that we are proud of. He is one of 47 students at the Next Gen Leadership Academy who has demonstrated a love of learning and a desire to acquire new knowledge and skills. Kids like Onix don’t need much to succeed – just a safe place to learn, grow and play. Whether you donate $125 of $500, your support makes a difference and helps a student gain access to people who care and are dedicated to giving every student the tools they need to do well in their course work, graduate, and matriculate into college.

We have no idea what the future holds for Onix. What we do know is that whether he turns out to be a professional player or be the first in his family to go to college, this opportunity has changed his life forever.