Soccer in the Streets officially kicked off the summer season, which includes free youth summer camps run by coaches from the International Volunteering Project at Leeds Beckett University. Now that the school year has ended, the local non-profit continues to find ways to keep children engaged in positive and healthy activities at no cost.
The metro Atlanta non-profit is running several summer programs until the end of July, targeting communities on the Westside (John Hope Community Center, Vine City, Castleberry Hill, Station Soccer - Five Points, and Homeless Soccer League), East Point (Street Box Pickup), and Clarkston.
"It is so important to stay engaged with our communities after the spring season ends."said Lauren Glancy, Soccer in the Streets' Director of Coaching and Education. "This will ensure consistency and allow our coaches to build lasting relationships with the youth we work with in these neighborhoods."
Throughout the summer, Soccer in the Streets is expecting to work with over 450 children, making it one of the organization's busiest summers yet.
Free Youth Soccer Camps - Leeds Beckett University
Hailing from England, for a second year in a row, students with Leeds Beckett's International Volunteering Projects have picked Soccer in the Streets to conduct their month-long youth soccer camps. The camps, free for youth of all ages, will be running at Station Soccer - Five Points, Brown Middle School, Smyrna Elementary School, Vine City Park, Clarkston Community Center, College Park's Badgett Stadium, Underwood Hills Park and MLK Jr Recreation Center.
"Not one to rest on our laurels, we have an ambitious programming schedule this summer," said Jill Robbins, Soccer in the Streets' Chief Program Officer. "For the many kids that need positive outlets and really want to play soccer - whether they're new to the game or have been playing for years - we want to provide as many opportunities as possible to play, learn and have fun."
Leeds Beckett University coaching staff employ their skills to give back to communities in need, using soccer to break down boundaries, while experiencing cultural diversity.
"The kids give us perspective and are an integral part of our work," said Josh Weekes, Lead Coach for the Leeds Beckett's International Volunteering Team visiting Atlanta. "Throughout June, our team will be delivering coaching sessions in the morning and afternoon to refugee communities - experience the culture Atlanta has to offer and spread the positive image of our university and it's support to SITS in pickup games and workshops."
These young adults utilize this platform to develop their coaching expertise while working on their licensing in England, gaining coaching experience in different environments while working on their employability outlook. However, one thing is clear: their love for soccer and their passion to volunteerism is second to none.
"From just finishing a Sport Development degree, I strongly believe sport is a powerful and unique tool to aid social change and get across other positive messages, as well as learning new transferable skills that can be used elsewhere and not just on the soccer field," said Lewis Whiting, another Leeds Beckett volunteer. "The kids that take part in the programme are just great, they consistently listened and took on board the advice and coaching we provided. Other than the coaching, playing soccer with them was a favourite part of the trip for me."
To sign up to Soccer in the Streets' Summer Programs, visit www.soccerstreetsatl.org
Time frame: May 29th - August 14th
- U17 Boys Tuesdays 5:30 - 7:00
- Girls Wednesdays 5:30 - 7:00
- U20 Boys Thursdays 5:30 - 7:00
- Friday Pickup 6:00pm
Time frame: June 5 - August 5th
- Street Box Pickup Saturdays 10:00-12:00
Time frame: June 5 - August 5th
- John Hope Rec - Mondays 10:00-12:00
- Vine City - Wednesdays 10:00-12:00
- Castleberry Hill - Saturdays 10:00-12:00
- Station Soccer - Five Points - Saturdays 10:00-12:00 & Sundays 11:00-1:00
- Homeless Soccer- Fridays