Combinations of light rain and cold weather were unable to demoralize more than 60 Detroit PAL eager youth athletes this past Saturday, as the Detroit City Football Club partnered with the Detroit Police Athletic League (PAL) to host the first ever Spring Soccer Clinic. Both coaches and players from the semi-professional locally based soccer club took to their home field at Cass Tech, opening the doors to Detroit youth soccer players from across the city. Detroit PAL athletes of all ages took part in the nearly two and half hour on-field soccer skills and development clinic under the guidance of local soccer professionals. Donning their brightest DPAL apparel, athletes ranging in groups from eight-and-under to 14-and-under competed in basic ball-progression drills and skill specific training stations emphasizing passing and striking the ball.
Associate Director of Detroit PAL Athletics Rachel Schultz stresses the importance of larger messages when it comes to understanding the important role that sports and athletics play in everyday lives of city youth. “It is great for the kids to be aware that higher level soccer in the city of Detroit is available everyday, reaching far beyond just the high school levels” said Rachel. In fact, a significant number of DCFC players have been products of local post-secondary educational institutions. Last season’s roster included Livonia, Michigan native and former University of Detroit Mercy Titan, Adam Bedell, as well as former B1G Player of Year, University of Michigan graduate Knox Cameron.
Detroit City FC General Manager Donovan Powell partnered with Rachel as a driving force behind the Spring Soccer Clinic initiative, shedding light on healthy career avenues perhaps not so well known to local communities. “This was a great way for us to showcase soccer, and show that there are successful people around here that play soccer every single day” Rachel added. DCFC players volunteered their time by sharing their experiences and knowledge of the sport and it’s lifestyle, instilling the importance of work ethic, attention to detail, but most of all – fun. Rachel, coaches and players were found amidst the soccer action themselves during the final minutes of play, in one large ‘friendly match’ to end the day’s activities.
All participants in this year’s Spring Soccer Clinic have received vouchers offering them the opportunity to attend all nine Detroit City FC home games for the season free of charge. Home Game season-passes donated by Powell and the DCFC aim to further expose young hopefuls to the benefits of local, recreational and competitive soccer. Cass Tech Field was filled with smiles of satisfaction and accomplishment following the clinic’s conclusion, feelings often associated with youth recreational athletics and the sport of soccer. Schultz concluded by saying “This is all about spreading the love of soccer, you don’t need much to do it, you have a ball, grab some friends and you’re good to go”. Rachel along with the Detroit Pal team currently find themselves in the middle of Spring Soccer season, with ages four to 19 competing every week through the end of June.