Youth Soccer Day Brings Attention to the Need for Open and Safe Public Fields
Having access to open parks and lush green spaces is a luxury many people don’t typically recognize as such. Many can resonate with the familiarity of seeing organized sports teams playing on numerous park fields. This familiarity is more closely connected with suburban and rural areas, leaving behind opportunities for those in larger cities like Philadelphia.
The idea of Youth Soccer Day derives from the lack of outdoor-specific opportunities within Philadelphia’s community. The event itself aims at bringing attention to the need and want for green spaces and playing fields. Kids in every community should have the chance to play outside safely and kick a soccer ball around if they choose.
Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer, along with partners Fairmount Park Conservancy, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, and Friends of FDR Park, joined together on Saturday, March 26, in hopes of demonstrating how having safe open parks and playing fields for children fills a void existing in the community currently.
Youth Soccer Day, held at FDR Park in Philadelphia, brought attendees together for a day of fun, laughter, and cheer. Though the free event was scheduled to end after four hours, there were enough activities to fill one’s entire weekend. Kids participated in Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer’s mini-field, kicked goals at the larger-than-life blue soccer jersey, and received pocket-sized freebies. The event also offered free kayak tours, food trucks, and other family-friendly initiatives throughout FDR Park.
Though was much going on, the 11:30 a.m. speaking presentation unified the day’s purpose. With guest speakers in attendance, each brought further attention to the need of green public spaces within FDR Park.
As Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney mentioned, “kids, families, and coaches all benefit from having safe quality fields, courts, and facilities to host games and tournaments.” As a plan to update the current green spaces and transform it into something vibrant and active, local kids will finally have access to explore athletic opportunities that are not as easily accessible currently.
Advocating for open parks and playing fields gives kids the tools to learn and grow together. Sports help young athletes become active adults – not just physically, but active within the very same communities they grew up in.
“Soccer in Philadelphia predates [FDR Park] by about 25 years,” Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer CEO Chris Branscome shared. “We’ve been playing for well over 100 years of soccer in Philadephia,” Branscome continued. It goes to show just how widespread soccer is played throughout the city, community, region, and state.
Youth Soccer Day is a small example of how Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer is involved in ensuring every single child throughout eastern Pennsylvania has an opportunity to be involved and play soccer. These grassroots initiatives play an active role in Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer’s mission.
For Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer, the organization is grateful there are elected officials who understand sports and soccer. With the larger community’s help, safe places to play for kids will now have a chance at being accessible throughout the city.