City on the Pitch 2018
What an incredible day. With the Buccini/Pollin Group (BPG) as lead sponsor in their 25th Anniversary year, along with the support of the Philadelphia Union, we couldn't have asked for anything more. But we got more.
We had music, dance, soccer, movement, food, art, fun, sweat, and laughter. We had a drone floating in a cool breeze, oranges, drums, international flags, and self-designed capes.
The Annual "City on the Pitch" PlayDay is a celebration. It celebrates Future Soccer Stars Foundation's free soccer programs that provide access to soccer... soccer for fun, soccer for exercise, soccer for training, soccer for life. It celebrates diversity in the city
and the nurturing of a soccer culture to parallel the movement in the US. Equally, it celebrates our great partners and collaborators who work hard to provide the youth of our city and state opportunities to take their lives to 11.
One of the best aspects of the PlayDay is seeing the groups of kids
from each respective host-site dissolve into a whole when the event starts... There's no "us vs you," no boundaries. There's only fun and companionship.
This year, we collaborated with the Delaware Art Museum to bring in spokenword poet, dancer, and playwright Marc Bamuthi Joseph. He and his troupe really enriched the PlayDay and the kids ate it up.
Between getting up and dancing on their own during a musical
performance, to liberating their bodies through Marc's movements, to expressing themselves through the creation of art that symbolizes power of an individual to be a hero in his or her own way, the experience is certain to linger in the minds and souls of each child.
Through this partnership with the Delaware Art Museum, Marc's program injected the perfect illustration that everything in life is interconnected through culture... something that parallels FSS' focus on building strong relationships with community partners.
Speaking of partners, one of our regional partners is the Philadelphia Union. Mark McKenzie, one of our FSS Ambassadors, is a Delaware local who plays for the Union and the US National teams. For the kids, Mark is an example of what hard work and dedication can produce. He is not only generous with his time and mentorship, he adds another level of fun to our events. (Thanks for coming out, Mark!)
This year's "City on the Pitch" was easily the most successful gathering for fun, experience, expression, and sweat. We can't wait for next year...
FSS believes in collective efforts that involve the local community, businesses, schools, cultural institutions, and other nonprofits. For us, by involving more entities, we ensure a more successful and wholesome program while building a deeper support system to nurture children.
As the dust settles and our year closes out, we want to thank our host sites for helping us help their children. You inspire us to work harder. Without you, there is no program.
We want to thank BPG for their generous lead-funding. By co-sponsoring with the Philadelphia Union, BPG continues to help strengthen our community partnership with the Union in creating a soccer pathway to the pros.
A big THANK YOU to Logan Herring, the Executive Director at Kingswood Community Center. Logan connected us to the Delaware Art Museum who wanted to find a partner with whom Marc Bamuthi Joseph could collaborate.
Of course, we also want to thank the Delaware Art Museum and Marc for enriching our event by injecting a cultural element to tie the day together. We showed through experience the connection between sport, culture, art, and expression.
In a first for FSS, we're proud we had younger members of our soccer community help out. Thank you to the Delaware FC 2003 team for stepping up and giving back. Your participation in charitable work provides the ripple effect that strengthens communities and inspires younger children.
Finally, we want to give a shout out to the local businesses WhyFly, Stitch House Brewery, and The Mill, who lent us a hand when we needed it most, and who believe in giving back to the community to help build a better world all around.
Every bit counts. Thank you.
For more info, press, and social media visit the following links:
DETV (thanks Ivan!)
Photos: Jasmine Brown
Photos: Marc Bamuthi Joseph 1
Photos: Marc Bamuthi Joseph 2
Photos: Mark McKenzie
*Of course, don't forget our social media sites! (top right menu)
About Future Soccer Stars Foundation
FSS utilizes the world sport of soccer as a means to help kids build confidence, to be aware of their
bodies and minds, and to take stock in themselves. We provide free access to this growing sport to combat the pay-to-play environment so pervasive in the US. Yes, we teach introductory soccer using licensed coaches... but we also inject life lessons such as team work, responsibility, respect, honesty, consideration, humility, and self-care.
Nowhere in the country do free soccer programs exist on such a scale. Nowhere... that is nowhere but here at FSS. And it will only get better as our reach continues to grow, and the number of children we help gain access to soccer and all that the sport and fitness can provide multiplies throughout our community, city, and state.
Our free program model is hosted by community organizations (currently numbered at 6). We plan to grow to about 12 sites in the City of Wilmington in as much of a geographically balanced spread as possible. Additionally, we are in the process of raising money to build a field of our own (a home!) located at the new 76ers Fieldhouse on the Riverfront to not only increase our capabilities but be able to generate much revenue to provide financial independence, keep our programs free, and to provide funding assistance should a child show promise and desire to take his or her soccer further.
We play a pivotal role in an extensive soccer pathway created by our direct partnerships with local soccer clubs such as Delaware FC, Delaware Union, Delaware Rush, and Kirkwood Soccer Club.
This pathway is also connected to the University of Delaware, the Philadelphia Union, and the US National Soccer teams. To facilitate and broaden this pathway, our outdoor field will provide us the space to create a citywide youth soccer league for the summer and winter completing our calendar for yearly engagement. As a hub for fun and elite training, our kids will play side-by-side with others from other locations outside of the city creating a diverse environment in which to grow and aspire.
We look forward to continuing our work for and with our community, and to playing a role in developing our youth by providing opportunities for their future in whatever endeavor they choose.
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