During the last few years, UKSD has evolved from what started as a few ideas scribbled on paper to a fully established organization working to better the youth in communities across the world. This work is done through the game of soccer, while also empowering young minds to play an active role in helping those less fortunate than themselves.
UKSD stands for United Kingdom Soccer Development. This was created by founder, Lee Docherty “Doc,” who came overseas from England with the dream to build a soccer organization that served the youth. Doc has a multifaceted past, with experience in military, soccer, and personal fitness. Throughout his life, he has traveled to many places around the world and has found that although landscapes and cultures may be diverse, the one commonality everyone shares is the passion for sports. The game of soccer knows no boundaries and is a vehicle in which we can connect all ages, races, religions, etc.
UKSD began as an organization which allowed children of all ages to participate in after school soccer programs where they were given a safe environment in order to play soccer and be taught about social issues. As UKSD began to see the success in not only the coaching aspect of these programs, but more importantly the social awareness piece, they expanded upon this idea to create programs in which the youth could become active in trying to solve the very social issues they were learning about. This transformation brought on some of UKSD’s most prominent programs such as the Kidz Play 4 Free Project, Charity Food Donation Soccer Tournaments, and Social Change Soccer Tours. In order to make these programs become successful, UKSD enlisted the support of Millwall Football Club, an organization which has worked diligently over the years to bring social awareness through soccer.
Millwall F.C. has a deeply rooted history for helping their community and raising social awareness through soccer. Some of the Club’s many projects we have come to admire are their efforts to save the Lewisham Hospital from closure, their donation of the 2013-14 game shirt to the prostate cancer UK research and awareness efforts, and also their recent link to the Football vs. Homophobia movement. It also can’t go without mentioning that because Millwall has worked so closely with the Anti-Racism in Football Movement, they have been inducted into the “Show Racism The Red Card Initiative Hall of Fame” for their efforts to ban racism, something they have worked on for over 20 years.
It has been through the support of Millwall F.C. that UKSD has just completed their second Social Change Through Soccer Tour. The UKSD coaches hand picked a select group of high school aged students to travel to the Island of Dominica for a week long mission trip. These teenagers were chosen to represent UKSD as youth leaders. Each of these teens demonstrated leadership skills, a desire to implement change, and a passion for educating the youth through sport. This select group not only coached soccer while on the island, but they also tutored in one of the local high schools and volunteered to interact and provide nourishment for the underprivileged children of Dominica. Many teens are aware that there are countries all over the world that could benefit from assistance, but they are unsure as to how they can help. The UKSD Social Change Soccer Tours provide teens with the tools necessary in order to offer this much needed aid and support.
UKSD plans to continue such tours, and are in the final stages of implementing tours throughout Africa and eventually South America. UKSD Social Change Soccer Tours are not limited to overseas. Later this year, UKSD will work closely with the NSCAA in order to provide their Youth Leaders with coaching qualifications, before embarking on a US based Social Change Soccer Tour. During this trip they will stop off at local grass roots soccer organizations and provide free of charge soccer programming to local young people, while also spending a day volunteering at a children’s hospital and soup kitchen. After they complete their community service projects, youth leaders will then participate in a soccer tournament.
All in all, UKSD has one goal- To Empower and educate young people throughout the world using the beautiful game.
“UKSD Helping the community through soccer” NSCAA. 17 Apr 2014