Chartered on January 30, 2009, Inti Soccer Academy of Manchester, Ltd. is a certified non-profit corporation in the State of New Hampshire and a tax-exempt public charity under IRS Code 501(c)(3). As the State’s representative of the nationwide Urban Soccer Collaborative, our responsibility is to serve the underprivileged youth of Manchester by conducting a rigorous soccer academy, with supporting educational services, in the most economically distressed region of the city.
Co-founded by Max Latona and Rodrigo Marion, with the early addition of Jamie Pendleton, the organization has evolved to ten directors, Director of Programming position, part-time paid teachers, numerous volunteers, and key partnerships that provide professional soccer coaches at no charge to Inti. We are strong and financially solvent.
We provide free year-round soccer including two summer soccer camps, futsal during the winter, an after-school academic program incorporating enrichment activities (art, music, environment/nature), cultural activities, field trips, and healthy eating. We are open to all children ages 6-14 (ages 5-17 at our summer soccer camps). We typically have 60% refugees, 25% immigrants, and 15% American-born members.
The name Inti reflects the Bolivian heritage of one of the Inti's founders. Inti is the Incan word for the sun or, more specifically, for the Incan deity that is the source of light, life, understanding, vitality and growth. Inti enables the growth of the minds, bodies, and spirits of Manchester’s most underserved youth. We bring hope and encouragement. We are open to children of any sex, race, ethnicity, and religion. No child has ever been turned away.
While many sports might benefit the inner-city youth, soccer has been chosen not only because it is a passion of Inti’s founding members, but it is the sport best suited to the immigrant heritage and ethnic make-up of the city. Manchester has experienced a wave of new citizens from Africa, Latin America, and Eastern Europe, as well as many other parts of the world. Most of these ethic peoples have a native passion for soccer. Soccer is, one might say, the lingua franca of the entire world.
We utilize soccer as a "cultural hook" to involve the players in a sport that they love and then teach them to improve their English skills while exposing them to opportunities that will encourage them to develop and succeed.
What are needs addressed by Inti Academy?
36% of Manchester's school-age children are economically disadvantaged. 33% of New Hampshire’s children 6-12 are overweight or obese. Inti children generally live below the poverty line. Virtually all are on free-food programs at school. They learn to speak English within two years but struggle with reading and writing. Most of the parents do not speak fluent English and some are not literate in their native languages.
Many of these inner-city children suffer from cultural assimilation difficulties and are afflicted with linguistic, educational, health, and socioeconomic problems, putting them at high risk for drug and alcohol abuse, criminal behavior, and other forms of delinquency. The city has a higher four-year drop-out percentage (20%) than that of the state (11%).
Manchester's inner-city children have very little to do after school and in the summer. The disparity between the opportunities for inner-city children as compared with suburban youth in New Hampshire is striking and disheartening. Inner-city children are in desperate need of quality recreational and educational opportunities. Even so, Inti children are showing great promise and have positive attitudes. Inti offers an important refuge and something to which they can look forward year round.
Many of these inner-city children and their families suffer from cultural assimilation difficulties and are afflicted with linguistic, educational, health, and socioeconomic problems, putting them at high risk for school absenteeism, drug and alcohol abuse, and even criminal behavior. Our zero tolerance for fighting and swearing fosters good behavior and is a constructive antidote against violence and the influence of gangs.
They don’t eat properly at home or get enough to eat. When food is available at our events, they gorge themselves. They are always hungry. We teach them to drink water during practice and to avoid soda and chips. On weekends we offer fruit and low-fat foods.
Our strategy differs from other youth organizations. We don't charge fees. Inti families can't afford even token contributions. Most of our kids do not have transportation. Our base of operation is conveniently located in the Beech Street School neighborhood within a short walking distance from where most of them live.
Inti Academy programs are tailored to their needs. We develop a caring relationship with each child. For some, we have become their home away from home. We are especially appreciated by the parents.