What if youth coaches were paid more than professional athletes?

After learning Meredith Cazales and Up2US Sports’ story, you could easily make a strong case for why we need to value coaches more than the larger-than-life athletes who grace the cover of cereal boxes.

Meredith, 13, lives in the South Bronx. She was earning all A’s in school and enjoying her social life on the side. Then, her father, who introduced her to soccer, suddenly passed away.

In the wake of the tragedy, her grades plummeted and she withdrew from her peers, often hiding in the bathroom rather than going to class.

Enter Up2Us Sports and Delmy Del Cid.

Up2Us hires and trains coaches to help reconstruct the lives of this country’s most vulnerable youth. Their efforts harness the power of sports to reduce violence, inspire academic success and promote good health.

“They teach us how to make practice or tutoring or anything like that into a safe zone,” Del Cid said.

Del Cid ended up meeting Meredith at just the right time. The teen had been suspended from school, so as her soccer coach, Del Cid helped her get her grades.

“I want to be the first in my family to finish school,” Meredith said. “It’s hard, but I’m trying. Get through high school, get through college, get a degree.”

Then Meredith got more involved in soccer, and eventually became the team’s captain.

Here’s a look at their story thanks to Up2Us Sports.


The power of sports. The power of good coaches.