skip navigation

Bellevue University, United Black Players, the USL announce scholarship recipient, Xiolani Vargas

By Staff, 04/18/23, 11:00AM EDT


Second scholarship award in annual program made following recommendation from Denver-based organization Colorado UpLift

TAMPA, Fla. – In collaboration with United Black Players and Colorado UpLift, the United Soccer League today announced Xiolani (pronunciation: SEE-ow-LAN-ee) Vargas had been selected as the second recipient of a scholarship to Bellevue University, the Official Education Partner of the USL.

As part of the multi-year partnership between the USL and Bellevue University, the two organizations worked with the United Black Players and Denver-based Colorado UpLift to identify scholarship candidates through non-profit organizations that benefit minority youth.

From that process, Vargas was selected, with her goal to pursue a career in the medical field.

“Obtaining a college education means the world to me, because it will help me accomplish my dreams to serve youth in my community,” said Vargas. “First and foremost, I want to continue serving as a teacher and mentor to others. Having the opportunity to offer that as a full-time staff member at Colorado UpLift would be amazing. Beyond that, my long-term aim is to become an ultrasound technician.”

Raised in a single-parent family, Vargas has shown a willingness to serve her community and a caring and compassionate nature that has helped her succeed despite obstacles that have come her way. In the Colorado UpLift program, she has shown leadership and the ability to impact those she works with every day, becoming a tremendous example that matches the program’s ideals and broader mission.

“Xiolani has shown an aspiring personality to move toward what it is she wants with a consistent character that models her why,” said Colorado UpLift’s Advanced Leadership Director Ross Curington. “At Colorado UpLift, we believe no matter how tough things get, students have the power to live above and beyond their constraints in ways that help students like Xiolani fulfill a greater purpose.

“We couldn’t be prouder of Xiolani and believe she will continue to make an impact in all the lives she touches.”

Vargas is the second recipient of the annual scholarship created by the USL, Bellevue University and United Black Players following Kamaya “Milk” Fuller last August. Bellevue University also grants a full scholarship to each USL Championship and League One team annually to be awarded to a player to pursue their undergraduate or graduate degrees.

“The individual aspirations that our students have, and that all of us are powering together, are truly remarkable,” said Bellevue University President Dr. Mary Hawkins. “We look forward to Xiolani joining our diverse community of learners who are motivated to create a brighter future for themselves and others.”

“Colorado Uplift has a long and exemplary record in working to improve the odds for urban youth to become successful and productive young adults,” said United Black Players Secretary Andrew Wheeler-Omiunu. “They faithfully demonstrated their commitment to that goal as they have worked diligently for us to arrive at a place where we can excitingly award Xiolani this scholarship. The UBP is proud to partner with the USL, Bellevue University, and Colorado Uplift and we cannot wait to see the great things Xiolani will accomplish.”

Founded in 1966, Bellevue University is one of the country’s top 20 online universities and has more than 60,000 graduates worldwide. In addition to providing full scholarships annually to Championship and League One clubs, Bellevue University will offer tuition assistance across the entire USL ecosystem to club and league employees, as well as family members of staff, coaches, and players.

The United Soccer League also works with Bellevue University on coursework and curriculum integrations, providing USL guest speakers in the classroom, and exploring mentoring, and league-based internship opportunities.

For additional information on Bellevue University and course offerings, please visit

Latest News