Homecoming week is here, with New York City FC back in the Bronx this coming Saturday vs. FC Cincinnati. Before that, City in the Community, the charitable foundation proudly supported by NYCFC, was getting ready for a big 2021 too, with the CITC squad linking up for the first time in more than a year for Young Leader training at the Boys Club of New York in East Harlem. We caught up with Marvin Rivera, one of the participants looking to spread the power of soccer in communities across the five boroughs.
Tanner Smith: Firstly, could you introduce yourself and tell us what has Young Leader Training been like for you?
Marvin Rivera: Young Leader Training has been eye-opening. In my community, we don’t really have things like this, where you have a whole building just for kids to learn and be better leaders in the community. I find that very, very important for our generation, but also something that’s inspiring us to do more in our communities.
TS: So, where are you from? And where did you hear about the program? What made you want to decide to come out and spend your week off trying to learn about being a leader?
MR: I’m from Brooklyn, Bushwick, and I heard about it from a friend who’s also here. He sent me the flyer, and I read about it; I was like, this is super interesting because soccer is my favorite sport and also being a leader is something that I take part in every day.
TS: What’s the week been like for you? What do you feel like you’re going to take away from?
MR: The week has been very entertaining. I have a week off, I’m a sophomore in college, and I felt like maybe it would be a waste of time, but honestly, I enjoyed it, and I’m glad that I did take this week. Working with people that are slightly younger than me, but they all have the same idea and vision about being leaders in our community, but also being better people at the end of the day.
TS: What do you think you’ll take into your everyday life and the things that you do going forward?
MR: For me, what I’m going to take in is trying to inspire others. I feel like we all have role models in our life, either our parents or people we look up to older than us, and I feel like I can be an inspiration for kids that are younger, to be better people at the end of the day. You want to have somebody to look up to whenever you are feeling down, or you need direction.
TS: If you could speak to somebody who maybe was on the fence about coming to an event or a week like this, what advice would you give them?
MR: I would say keep your mind open, honestly. Don’t try to expect too much and use whatever is offered to you to work and make it a better experience. You don’t want to come in with a mindset that you’re going to play and be on a soccer team; you want to think about it as you becoming a leader and wanting to do more, not just for yourself but for others.
TS: Do you feel like that’s what has happened to you?
MR: Yeah, I like speaking up, speaking about things that I feel strongly about, and I think that this whole week has shaped me into an even better person. It has given me a better direction to what I want to do with my spare time; not just play video games, maybe go out and volunteer more.