Soccer programs serve Eastern Pennsylvania, pursue patronage

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney knows the power of the sport of soccer. During a gathering last year, to celebrate the inaugural Philadelphia International Unity Cup soccer tournament, Kenney emphatically stated “soccer is in every neighborhood.”

“When you bring people together around one commonality [soccer], it’s the foundation for important cultural exchange and understanding that increases tolerance across the city.”



Mayor Jim Kenney delivered on his pledge to use sport as a tool for peace and development throughout city with the inaugural Philadelphia International Unity Cup .


Several Philadelphia area organizations are successfully bringing people together through soccer, delivering on Kenney’s declaration. Local non-profits and educational institutions have used the sport to connect with and invest in underserved communities throughout the region.

Street Soccer USA is planning the launch of two programs, one in North Philly at the site of the old Spring Garden school next to the Drexel Sheller Family Health Center ,” Lawrence Cann, CEO of Street Soccer USA shared with Nick Youngstein of last summer.

“The other will be in Kensington and be operated in partnership with Kensington Soccer Club and facilitated by New Kensington CDC and Shift Capital ,” Cann said.

A social enterprise, Street Soccer USA operates revenue-generating leagues and tournaments, nationally, that leverage private donors and corporate responsibility donations. In June, Street Soccer USA will kick off the National Cup Series on the iconic Philadelphia Art Museum Steps followed by stops in Times Square in New York City and Union Square in San Francisco.

Over 1,200 players registered last year, including 880 local Philadelphia youth and 150 homeless young adults from around the country, participating in the fundraising tournament. Proceeds from the National Cup Series provide youth ages 6-18, and young adults ages 18-30, with teamwork and life skills lessons in community-based clubs, after-school programs, and in partnership with educational institutions and social service providers including Kensington Soccer Club.



Street Soccer USA Cup Series was held on the iconic Philadelphia Art Museum steps made famous by Rocky Balboa.


Last month, Street Soccer USA and Kensington Soccer Club conducted a coaches and administrators training in Kensington, developing the capacity of local partners to teach life skills and create safe spaces in communities they serve.

“The most exciting aspect of the partnership between Kensington Soccer Club and Street Soccer USA, aside from the wealth of knowledge they bring, is the Street Soccer Court that was jointly constructed by the two groups in the Kensington Area,” said Jonah Anderson of Kensington Soccer Club.

“With the installation of such a quality facility in such an area devoid of safe play spaces, it will be so much easier to provide soccer programs and events to the community and also allow other programs to collaborate and host soccer related events in that space,” Anderson continued.

“As it was clear to see, the attendants of the training were a very diversified demographic-from young to old, abled and otherwise, all with the same goal of supporting the underserved kids in the community,” stated Anderson.



In November, Kensington Soccer Club - Community Advancement Through Soccer, Camden Youth Soccer Club , Ukranian Nationals and Mainline Soccer participated in the Goodwill Tournament at Kensington’s Street Soccer Park


The Kensington Soccer Club - Community Advancement Through Soccer, incorporates the Soccer for Success curriculum, a U.S. Soccer Foundation program that uses soccer to address youth health issues and juvenile delinquency. Kensington Soccer Club receives funding from the JT Dorsey Foundation to implement Soccer for Success, serving kids from all over the city.

Philadelphia Parks & Recreation , the Office of Immigrant Affairs and the Philadelphia International Unity Cup recently announced a call for Soccer for Success participants in Southwest Philly. Next month the triad will launch a chapter of the renowned program at Tilden Middle School in Eastwick.

Soccer for Success is a free after-school program that is proven to help kids establish healthy habits and develop critical life skills through caring coach-mentors and family engagement.

Since 2012, Chester Upland Soccer for Success has used U.S., April 6, Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer Association will host a after-school and university-assisted community school programming.

“We are operating at 14 different locations throughout Chester and Upland this spring and generally have at least one site operating every day of the week. Each site operates three days per week for ten weeks per season,” said Brent Jacquette, Chester Upland Soccer for Success founding executive director and Widener University head men’s soccer coach.



Chester Upland Soccer for Success Founding Executive Director & Widener University Head Men’s Soccer Coach, Brent Jacquette, leads a community service working-group at a program site.


In April, Chester Upland Soccer for Success will host its 4th Annual Play Day for K–8 grade students from 12 participating schools throughout the Chester/Upland area. In collaboration with Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer Association and the Chester Upland School District, Chester Upland Soccer for Success anticipates impacting and engaging close to 600 kids and their families.

“Additionally, we will be hosting four Soccer Saturday’s where most of our locations come together at one central location for a day of competition,” Jacquette stated.

Celebrating its fifth year of operation, Chester Upland Soccer for Success has proven success and produced tangible results. Of the 383 children participating in the fall 2014 program, 79% improved or maintained their body mass index percentile, 73% improved or maintained their aerobic capacity, and 52% decreased or maintained their waist circumference.

A recipient of Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer Association’s 2016 Development Grant, Chester Upland Soccer for Success relies on the financial support of grants, philanthropists and fundraisers.

“Our goal with these grants is to continue to support the infrastructure of our clubs [and organizations],” said Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer CEO, Chris Branscome. “With better, safer fields and facilities, we can bring quality soccer to more kids.”

As the governing body of youth soccer in Eastern Pennsylvania, Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer Association has prudently led efforts to raise funds for, and awareness of, soccer programming. From Mayor Kenney’s International Unity Cup, to Street Soccer USA’s National Cup and partnership with Kensington Soccer Club, to Chester Upland Soccer for Success’s impact in Chester, Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer Association has been the ideal custodian of the game.

On the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace , April 6, Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer Association will host a fundraiser to benefit Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer Association TOPSoccer (The Outreach Program for Soccer), Chester Upland Soccer for Success, and the JT Dorsey Foundation. TOPSoccer is a U.S. Youth Soccer community-based training and team placement program for young athletes with special needs. Founded by Coatsville native and former professional soccer player, Julian Dorsey, the JT Dorsey Foundation full-service soccer organization that manages Soccer for Success programs throughout the region.

“We need silent auction items,” Branscome told local soccer leaders and stakeholders. “Sports memorabilia, event tickets, vacation homes, gift certificates. And, ticket sales!”

The modest goal for the evening is $20,000 which will be distributed to the event beneficiaries. “We will need everyone’s support to make this successful,” stated Branscome.



TOPSoccer (The Outreach Program for Soccer), organized by youth soccer association volunteers, is designed to bring the opportunity of learning and playing soccer to any boy or girls, age four & older, who has a mental or physical disability.