New Soccer Facility Open in the Neighborhood
A new state-of the-art soccer facility made its debut at 3718 Jasper Street, between Castor Avenue and Buckius Street, last Wednesday, October 19th. Construction of the facility was made possible by a partnership with Street Soccer USA (SSUSA), Shift Capital, Comcast and the Kensington Soccer Club.
SSUSA founder Lawrence Cann was on hand for the ribbon-cutting ceremony alongside Kensington Soccer Club president Jim Hardy, Councilwoman Maria Quiñones-Sanchez and Shift Capital principals Brian Murray and Matthew Grande. Representatives from Comcast, the U.S. Soccer Foundation, the Philadelphia Union and professional soccer players Ashley Nick and Lianne Sanderson were also in attendance for the festivities.
“Our ultimate vision is to use soccer as a means to connect communities,” said Cann. “It’s a sport that breaks cultural barriers. People play for the experiences and positive environment and build trust with shared experiences.”
“We both have similar missions where we use soccer to advance the community and train the youth on health, nutrition, education and leadership,” said Hardy
Councilwoman Quiñones-Sanchez noted that she was a big soccer fan and that there was not much being played in her district when she started her first term. She commended Hardy for the hard work he has done in the community, serving more than 1,000 mostly low-income kids. “Something like this would have been just a dream, just a few short years ago,” said Hardy.
The $100,000 facility is located not far from the Erie-Torresdale El stop. It is right next to hometown hero Danny “Swift” Garcia’s boxing gym. The WBC welterweight champ took a break from training to observe construction and kick a ceremonial first ball into the net (he was successful on his second attempt.) Much of the manual labor required was provided by Comcast and volunteers from the Kensington Soccer Club. The club gets primary use of the new field, but it will also be open to the public. The flooring for the new arena is made up of a system of interlocking plastic tiles which was provided by the U.S. Soccer Foundation.
Street Soccer USA is a national non-profit located in 14 cities across the Unites States, incubated within national social service provider, HELP USA. SSUSA’s mission is to build life-changing community based sports programs that reach the least-served communities across the United States. Street Soccer USA will be supporting Kensington Soccer Club to introduce their soft skill curriculum, coaching training and methodology to increase the club’s reach in the Philadelphia community, and to build a social service back end to its engagement.
The Kensington Soccer Club runs leagues for kids ages 2 to 19 years old. For more information, call 267-850-1332 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. •
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