Paul Jeffries is always looking for ways to share his love for soccer.
"Probably the happiest days of my life was as a kid six to eleven years old playing soccer in a playground with my friends. It was pure joy and to know that some kids don't have that opportunity, I guess that makes me sad," he said.
Following a brief stint as a stock broker on Wall Street, Jeffries joined New York City FC, the local major league soccer team as Director of Community Development.
"I love soccer and wanted to make the game more inclusive in New York City," Jeffries said.
One of his first decisions was creating "City In The Community", a charity supported by the soccer club. It now benefits more than 4,000 children across the city, many from struggling neighborhoods.
"Sports are impactful and it is a great investment into our communities," Jeffries said.
The program provides free coaching, equipment, and access to fields. But it’s not just about teaching kids how to play soccer — the program uses the sport to promote healthy habits, education and leadership.
"Whether you are good at soccer or not good at soccer, it doesn't matter we are here to share, respect each other, have fun, be active and do good in school," Jeffries said.
Hundreds of young adults trained by "City In The Community" to lead their own soccer programs convey that message to the kids they work with.
"They've seen how soccer can serve them and now they want to give it back.// Giving them the tools, the training, empowering them to step up and make a difference, that excites me," Jeffries said.
And so for giving city kids a better shot at goals beyond the soccer field, Paul Jeffries is our New Yorker of the Week.