The Soccer for Success Jamboree was held on June 4 at Total Sports Complex in Wixom. Nearly 1,000 kids were in attendance to show off the skills they had learned throughout their time in the program.
The U.S. Soccer Foundation’s Soccer for Success program has been highly successful in Detroit. The afterschool program is present in 24 schools throughout the city. Not only do the kids in the program learn the fundamentals of the game of soccer, but they also spend time learning about healthy eating habits and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
“The kids learn teamwork, camaraderie, and healthy eating habits,” said Coach Mariva Gonzalez of Escuela Avancemos, who is also a parent of a Soccer for Success participant, “When we are at the grocery store, the kids will tell us that they need to eat vegetables and stay away from bad foods.” Her son, who has been a part of the program for two seasons, has come a long way since he first started. Mariva noted that he used to be very quiet, shy, and would get angry easily, but because of the lessons he has learned in the program he has become more outgoing, confident and calm.
The spring Soccer for Success program was an afterschool activity option for these kids, who would stay after school on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays to do soccer drills and learn different healthy lifestyle lessons. Emily, a coach from Hamilton, has noticed big changes in her students since the program was started in her school. “One student in particular had a lot of anger and school issues, but after starting the program he would get his homework done and behave because he was looking forward to going to soccer practice after school.” The students know that schoolwork comes first and they need to perform well in class in order to continue in the program.
For the second year, the United Way graciously provided meals for all of our youth soccer players at the Soccer for Success Jamboree. They worked hard learning the fundamentals of soccer for 12 weeks and were able to show their family and friends how far they had come! Every participant was given a medal for their amazing work during the spring program!
Soccer for Success will be continuing during the summer and fall. You can learn more about the Soccer for Success program here.