ACCESS U Helps Youth Find Academic Success

By Giving List Staff   |   February 29, 2024
Aniya Williams, who is proudly holding The Giving List featuring her photo, and her teammates on Mexico’s U-17 Women’s National Team came in 2nd last month at the Concacaf Women’s U-17 Championships in Toluca, Mexico.”

ACCESS U Foundation’s co-founders, Brad Rothenberg and Joaquín Escoto, ran a successful for-profit youth soccer company for nearly twenty years, growing the game at the grassroots level in Black and Latino communities. Year after year, however, they watched in frustration as smart and talented young soccer players from Black and Latino communities were ignored by college recruiters. Students whose access and visibility to elite colleges were limited by educational, financial and social barriers. ACCESS U was launched in 2016 to overcome these barriers, on the belief that every young soccer player deserves a fair and equal chance to succeed in education, work and life.

ACCESS U offers free, top-tier college counseling and academic tutoring programs as well as recruiting mentorship to help our scholar-athletes secure scholarships and financial aid to play college soccer and graduate debt-free or with small student loans. We have mentored over 120 players and currently have 58 high school scholar-athletes enrolled in our program, the majority of whom are girls. The results have exceeded all of our expectations, giving these impressive young men and women a chance to achieve their dreams and change their fortunes, as well as those of their families, for generations to come.

ACCESS U provides up to 80 hours of one-on-one or small group tutoring and mentorship during all four years of high school with the help of two partner organizations. Prestige Prep, one of the country’s leading educational services and tutoring centers, provides academic support and helps our students meet their educational goals, while also challenging them to push themselves and build their confidence and sense of self. College, Career & Life guides our students through the college application and selection process, from career planning and personal counseling to identifying colleges that would be a good fit. They also assist in the college selection and enrollment process and help secure and evaluate scholarship and financial aid opportunities.

“ACCESS U has provided me with opportunities to reflect upon my future interests with college recruitment, access, and procedures. It has allowed me to ask questions directly to resources that enable me to move forward with making decisions about my next steps in walking the college pathway…(W)hen I need confirmation or answers to things college related, I feel as though I have a team of professionals that will be there for me. ACCESS U is part of my team…(and) has and will continue to impact my future. Thank you, ACCESS U!!!!”

-Aniya Williams  High School, Class of 2026, U17 Mexico National Team

Since the beginning of February, ACCESS U has offered weekly, one-hour SAT prep workshops for our high school juniors before their college entrance exams. Hosted by Prestige Prep, the group sessions are held via Zoom and available twice weekly over two x ten week cycles. Students can join both sessions if they would like additional assistance. 

“Felix Barajas of Los Angeles, CA is a senior at Duke University.”

“ACCESS U, the people there, they really provided the opportunity to come here to Duke University.”

-Felix Barajas Duke University, Class of 2024

Thanks to our generous private donors, family foundations and corporate partners, ACCESS U is able to offer personalized academic and athletic support to our scholar-athletes at no-cost. We are proud of the program’s 100% high school graduation rate and have watched our graduates go on to receive world class educations at top universities such as UCLA, Berkeley, Claremont McKenna, Duke, Cornell, UPenn, Harvard, Stanford and Georgetown to name a few. 

Our program’s full cost, including dedicated staff and services, is $12,500 per student which covers all four years of high school. But the demand for ACCESS U’s services is much greater than our resources, unfortunately, resulting in a long wait list of high school students eager to join. Please consider a donation today, your support will allow us to scale our program and help more deserving scholar-athletes turn their college dreams into reality.

Highlights from the Field

Three more ACCESS U seniors have declared their college commitments. This fall Eleanor Johnson of Carmel, CA will attend Whitman College; Luisa Padilla of Toronto, Ontario (Canada) has committed to Queen’s University; and Gianna Owens of McKinney, TX is heading to UC Berkeley. 

Last month sophomore sensation Aniya Williams of Riverside, CA (Class of 2026) was selected to Mexico’s U-17 Women’s National Team. They finished second at the Concacaf Women’s U-17 Championship, qualifying for their seventh straight FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup to be held in October in the Dominican Republic. Aniya becomes our second scholar-athlete to qualify for a U-17 WWC with the Mexican National Team, joining Julie Lopez of Sylmar, CA (Cal State Long Beach, Class of 2027), who achieved it in 2022.

Jaylen Vallecillo of Queens Village, NY (Class of 2024) is our first scholar-athlete to play for a senior national team! A rising star on the Dominican Republic’s Women’s team, Jaylen is currently playing in the Concacaf Women’s Gold Cup with the senior squad.


Access U Foundation

Donate now!
(415) 305-5575
CEO ACCESS U Foundation: Brad Rothenberg


ACCESS U believes that every soccer player deserves a chance to succeed. We provide Black and Latino scholar-athletes with mentors who guide them through the college recruitment process and help them fulfill their academic and athletic potential and succeed in education, work and life.

Begin to Build a Relationship

We know you care about where your money goes and how it is used. Connect with this organization’s leadership in order to begin to build this important relationship. Your email will be sent directly to this organization’s Director of Development and/or Executive Director.

ACCESS U creates a more inclusive and equitable environment in college sports, offering high school students opportunities to improve their lives and fostering a stronger sense of unity within the college soccer community. ACCESS U opens doors too often closed to young people dreaming big.
Leonard Griffin
Head Coach, UC Berkeley Men’s Soccer Team

Help Level the Playing Field for All Student Athletes

Many standout student-athletes in Latino and Black communities never get a chance to be recruited to play their sport in college because it is unaffordable or not accessible to them. ACCESS U helps them fulfill both their college academic and athletic dreams.

It costs ACCESS U $12,500 to help level the playing field for one student-athlete. This provides academic support, college guidance, and mentorship to guide them through the college recruitment process over the four years of high school and to help them succeed in education, work, and life. 

The Foundation is seeking $500,000 to double their current roster of 40 female athletes in the coming year and continue supporting male athletes. They are seeking a $3 million goal over the next three years to continue their mission of serving 100 students per year and to expand with recruiting tournaments, enrichment programs for college freshmen, and other resources.

Key Supporters

Allstate Insurance
Chevron U.S.A. Inc.
Dick’s Sporting Goods
Ford Motor Company
PepsiCola Team of Champions
Dena Fischer Trust
For Soccer Ventures
Yours In Soccer Foundation
Rothenberg Family Foundation
Judge James and Jessica
Dabney Family
Emily and Phil Ginsburg Family
James Horowitz
Jared and Katherine Doumani
Jennifer Betti and Peter Jackson
Over 100 additional donors