About Thrive League

History

Thrive League was established in 2018 by Matthew Kokoszka, with the mission to support ECS (Education Soccer Character) African Academies and provide educational opportunities in the United States using soccer as a vehicle. 

Starting with a highly successful five player pilot program in 2018, Thrive League is now rapidly growing and supports kids from numerous countries across the globe.

The directors and organizations supporting Thrive League have collectively placed over 500 student athletes (boys & girls) into U.S. boarding schools.

Our Partners

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Rising Stars of Africa

Rising Stars of Africa is the official and exclusive African academy partner for Thrive League. The existing relationship between the two spanning over three years that has produced brilliant student athlete pilot players that have gone on to have tremendous success both on the field and in the classroom. These pilot players can be seen on our player profiles page.

Global Education & Sports Partners (GESP)

In 2021, Thrive League declared its intention to expand past Africa into a greater global presence with its partnership with Global Education & Sports Partners (GESP.) GESP is an educational consulting company that helps students from all over the world facilitate the application process to boarding schools in The United States. The primary focus of GESP is also soccer  and education. GESP has partners in Bermuda, Brazil, Costa Rica, Dominicam Republic, Dubai, Guatemala, Italy, and Spain.

Access Problems

• In interviews conducted with ECS academies, the leaders of these programs expressed interest in scholarships for their players to study in the United States, but described several major challenges:
• Lack of funding to support players while abroad.
• Lack of contacts at U.S. schools.
• Lack of trust that players will be cared for the U.S.
• Lack of understanding of U.S. school admissions.
• Lack of staff capacity to complete school paperwork and check-in.

US Boarding Schools

Some top boarding schools in the US will offer full or near-full-need financial aid to ECS academy players because of their athletic, academic and broader cultural contributions

However, these schools face challenges when it comes to finding and supporting these incredible applicants, as reflected in interviews conducted with 7 boarding school leaders in Spring 2018

Common Challenges

  • Cost of financial needs beyond scholarship funding (flights, health insurance, clothes, sports equipment)
  • Cost of arrangements during school breaks (finding host families, flying kids back home, places for kids to stay during vacations.)
ECS-Academy

Thrive League HAS:

Talented Student Athletes

Thrive League NEEDS:

Opportunities for players in the US; access to partners and donors abroad.

BUILD & NURTURE a network of vetted, high-quality international academies who want to pursue US educational pathways

SELECT annual cohorts of players and PLACE at US schools

LIAISE with key stakeholders for each player: home family, host family, host school, sending country, others

BoardingSchools

Boarding Schools HAVE:

Scholarship funding; immense educational resources; college placement.

Boarding Schools NEED:

Excellent student-athletes; increased transnationalism and diversity among wider student body.

BUILD & NURTURE a network of junior boarding schools, senior boarding schools and universities who want access to international players

PROVIDE wraparound support for student-athletes once in the US: orientation, host families, cohort events, financial support

RAISE funds from donors and host families

Thrive League

Thrive League HAS:

Talented Student-Athletes.

Thrive League NEEDS:

Opportunities for players to play in the U.S.; access to partners and donors abroad.

Boarding Schools (New England, USA)

Boarding Schools HAVE:

Scholarship funding; immense educational resources; college placement.

Boarding Schools NEED:

Excellent student-athletes; increased transnationalism and diversity among wider student body.

BUILD & NURTURE a network of vetted, high-quality international academies who want to pursue US educational pathways

BUILD & NURTURE a network of junior boarding schools, senior boarding schools and universities who want access to international players

SELECT annual cohorts of international players and PLACE at US schools

PROVIDE wraparound support for student-athletes once in the US: orientation, host families, cohort events, financial support

LIAISE with key stakeholders for each player: home family, host family, host school, sending international Academy, others

RAISE funds from donors and host families

Strategy

● Hire (and pay for) talented staff.

● Caseworkers with international player transition background.

● Offset player costs with host family commitments.

● Leverage storytelling around player journeys to the US.

2021 Capital Campaign

$150,000 Goal – Three Primary Objectives