Building youth and community through sport and play


Rob Castaneda, Executive Director

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.

Jackie Covarrubias, Managing Director

Jackie became involved with Beyond the Ball in 2014 by serving as a volunteer coach for the Beyond the Ball Girls program, while teaching and pursuing her Master's of Arts in Teaching from National Louis University. She received her Bachelor's from the University of Notre Dame in 2013. After volunteering for a few months, Jackie joined the Beyond the Ball team full time as Administrative Director. She has since transitioned into the role of Managing Director.

Michel Tilapa, Program Director

Michel Tilapa became connected with Beyond the Ball in 3rd grade when he entered into the program.  In 2006, as a high school sophomore, Michel became a regular Beyond the Ball volunteer. In 2009 Michel began his college studies at Saint Xavier University in Elementary Education and became a part of the staff, as a Beyond the Ball coach. In the fall of 2012, Michel became the Co-Program Director. With the passion he has for working with youth in the community, Michel has chosen to pursue a career in sports-based youth and community development.

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

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