Rob is the co-founder and executive director of Beyond the Ball, a sports-based youth and community development organization, located on the West Side of Chicago in Little Village. Beyond the Ball uses sport and play to inspire youth and to transform community spaces. In 1998, the Latin Kings set Rob’s house on fire twice in retaliation for reporting gang activity to the police. Instead of giving in to gang intimidation, Rob and his wife, Amy, decided to stay in their home and dedicate their lives to making their community and their city a more peaceful place through sport. In 2010, Beyond the Ball received a global Beyond Sport “Most Courageous Use of Sport Award” for Project Play, a program Rob and Amy designed to reclaim public spaces from gangs. In 2011, Rob received the “Norm Bobbins Emerging Leadership Award” at the Chicago Community Development Awards, for his neighborhood and citywide leadership in youth development and community building through sport.
Rob’s work includes overseeing Beyond the Ball as an organization, serving as the chair of a neighborhood-based sports coalition, running Chicago’s largest community-based sports tournament for 14 of the city’s most under resourced communities and presenting at national and international conferences in regards to his work in the field of sports-based youth and community development, SBYCD. Rob’s responsibilities include managing staff and volunteers for Beyond the Ball, where they provide programming for over 1,500 youth each year. He is also responsible for furthering the neighborhood sports collaborative’s agenda of creating more quality play opportunities and access to safe, quality play spaces for community youth. Rob provides assistance and support to neighborhood-based organizations throughout the city of Chicago on how to leverage sport to create safe, healthy, and quality experiences for their communities.
Juan Salazar, Programming
Juan is a 25 year resident of the Little Village Community. Prior to joining Beyond the Ball, Juan was a committed contributor to youth sports in the community. He volunteered as a coach for his children as they grew up and is now coaching his grandchildren. Juan is a great asset to Beyond the Ball by providing decades of youth sports experience and community relationships. e
Board of Directors
- Juan Valerio, President
- Siri Atma Greeley, M.D. Vice President
- Jorge Rubalcava, Treasurer
- Michael Torres, Secretary
- Amy Castañeda, M.A.
- Efrain Mata
- Diana Torres