Chelsea FC, Wipro and Designit create Digital Player Cards with FC Harlem
Chelsea FC teamed up with strategic design firm Designit, Wipro Digital, and the Boys and Girls Club of Harlem to develop a digital design workshop for the FC Harlem Lions team. The team spent the morning in the classroom collaborating with visual designers, service designers, developers and Chelsea coaches to define concepts, ideate the elements of the design, and finally, to code players’ individual templates.
The FC Harlem players then took to the field to take part in a number of tests designed and measured by the CFC coaches to determine their key stats, to then be inputted into each of the players cards.
It was a great opportunity for the kids to get hands-on experience in design, coding, and to be exposed to the messy but rewarding process of creative collaboration!
The upshot is an individualized digital calling card for each participant. The cards, which can be seen below, are inspired by traditional trading cards, can be showcased on digital resumes, college apps, and more. The ownership the team took over their designs was an inspiring reminder about how powerful strategic design collaborations can be. Go, Lions!
This was an amazing event for our young men. Chelsea, Wipro and Designit brought together worlds of football and technology through a creative platform that really engaged our players.
Sunday June 26 (Bronx, NY) – As Argentina and Chile prepared to play in the final of the 100th Anniversary of Copa America (South America’s oldest and most prestigious football tournament) at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, the FC HARLEM LIONS on its 25th anniversary of existence prepared for the its first ever NYC championship match in the Cosmopolitan Junior Soccer League (CJSL) U17 A Division. The CJSL is the oldest soccer league in NYC predating the formation of the US Soccer Federation. It is comprised of youth teams ages 10 -19 from all five boroughs. On this hot Sunday morning outside of the historic Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, the LIONS prepared to face off against its rival and one of the stronger clubs in the league: South Bronx United an affiliate of Major League Soccer’s New York City Football Club (NYCFC).
I am very proud of my guys. They worked hard all season. We told them that if they stayed discipline they could win.
—Head Coach Anders Khan
The teams met in the season opener with FC Harlem coming back from a 2-1 halftime deficit to win 4-2. Both clubs are unique in NYC in that they focus on serving minority and immigrant youth and provide a social mission of using soccer and enrichment programs to put participants on a pathways on success. Many of the players from both clubs are friends, live in the same neighborhoods or attend the same schools. Both teams finished the season even on points and with an 8-2-0 record.
The match started off as a tough defensive battle. FC Harlem opened the scoring with a goal by Felipe Mejia in the 25th minute and then he doubled the advantage in the 32’ minute. South Bronx pulled one back before halftime. During the second half both teams were on the attack but South Bronx was pushing deeper into FC Harlem’s backline. South Bronx tied it up 2-2 on what was an absolutely amazing corner kick that sailed untouched in the top left hand corner! Around the 80th minute FC Harlem’s Ibrahim Daraja broke the tie with a nice run at goal making it 3-2. The LIONS defense stayed strong under each wave of attack from South Bronx United. When the final whistle blew, history was made as FC Harlem brought home its first ever trophy to the club but most importantly to the Harlem community.
“I am very proud of my guys. They worked hard all season. We told them that if they stayed discipline they could win.” said Head Coach Anders Khan who has been working with the U17/U18 teams for the last 5 years at FC Harlem. Irv Smalls, Executive Director of FC Harlem praised Coach Anders and all the supporting coaches and staff. “We are a small knit group here but we have committed coaches who all kick in to support our young men.” Irv also praised the LIONS partnership with Chelsea Football Club, FC Harlem’s Official Football Development Partner. “Our partnership with Chelsea FC has positively impacted the performance on this year’s team. Chelsea FC Foundation coaches have led training sessions since November 2015, offering player assessments and knowledge sharing with our coaches on many aspects of football development. As our partnership continues to grow I am confident that we continue to improve our performance on the pitch.”
Irv elaborated on the role of programs like FC Harlem on professional soccer in the US “We believe that youth from the inner cities can have a positive impact on the growth of the professional game here in the United States. Programs like ours show what the impact can be when we get access to resources to develop the individual on and off the field. I think it is a matter of time when we will have a LION participant playing in MLS and the US National Team. ”
“We want to thank our partners, supporters, volunteers, Board of Directors and all our sponsors for their role in helping our team achieve this major milestone in our club’s history. We look forward to creating a legacy of soccer excellence here in Harlem!”
Chase: Get Your Kicks: Bringing Soccer to an Overlooked Community
Get Your Kicks: Bringing Soccer to an Overlooked Community
Written By: Danielle Elliot
Chase is a sponsor of the FC Harlem LIONS (Leaders In Our Neighborhoods) soccer club. As part of this sponsorship, funds from Chase and other sponsors will contribute towards creating the first covered soccer field in Harlem to help FC Harlem provide year-round youth programming. The covered field project has broken ground and is expected to be completed by September 2016.
In 2010, the FC Harlem boys’ soccer team drove from New York City to Chicago to compete in a national championship tournament. It was the first time many of the team members had left the New York area, packed for a trip, or stayed in a hotel. As they explored downtown Chicago, they were noticed in their maroon and gold club jackets with the custom-designed lion and shield logo on their chests.
A few of the boys told the organization’s executive director, Irv Smalls, that they felt famous, that they felt important. They’d gone to Chicago for the competition, but came home with so much more.
Founded in 1991 as Harlem Youth Soccer, the organization has expanded immensely under Smalls’ guidance. “Sport is the draw to bring them in, but [our program] is really mentoring,” he said. “It’s talking about giving back, exposing kids to more opportunities.”
Smalls, a former tight end for the 1994-95 undefeated and Rose Bowl Champs, Penn State Nittany Lions, grew up thinking soccer was corny. That changed when he watched the 2002 World Cup. “Soccer looked like life to me. … It was actually up and down, working with your teammates when it’s 0-0, coming back out to win the game,” he said. “It’s hard work. It’s working with other people.”
From Football to Soccer
After seven years working at Major League Soccer, he made the jump to Harlem Youth Soccer. He spent hours walking around the community at first, seeking an empty patch of concrete that he could potentially convert into a soccer field. The process raised plenty of eyebrows.
“My own community was like, ‘What are you up to? We don’t play soccer. You’re trying to change the neighborhood. You’re coming here in your suit, trying to change the community,'” he said.
When Smalls heard the name FC Harlem was part of the club’s early identity, he had the name officially changed. The next step in the rebranding was a new logo and jerseys, then partnerships with the Premier League’s Chelsea FC. When the team was invited to an event in Manhattan to see David Beckham, Smalls instead convinced Major League Soccer and the stars to come to Harlem.
“It helps encourage [our boys] to be really future-minded and to think about what they can do, what the possibilities are just by seeing [Beckham and others] coming to the community,” said Smalls. The boys have also visited the JPMorgan Chase headquarters in New York, the Google headquarters in California, and elite high schools across the country for a look at the doors that are open to them.
Heartbeat of the Community
“On any given Saturday in Harlem, you may stumble across a crowd of young men in their soccer uniforms waiting for Irv, their director, mentor, and friend,” says Victoria Dillard, whose son played for FC Harlem for seven years. “To me, this is the most valuable part of the league. This is the heartbeat, because it nurtures our young men and supports their right to dream. There is a connection between Irv and his players that for many of our youth doesn’t exist at home.”
Late next year, they’ll unveil the biggest addition yet: A year-round covered soccer facility in the heart of Harlem, thanks in part to support from Chase.
“Supporting community programs is a big part of what we do at Chase,” said Frank Nakano, head of Sports and Entertainment for JPMorgan Chase. “We have made a direct impact on the participants on and off the field under Irv’s leadership and is meaningful to the Harlem community. We’re really proud be a part of a team that provides these kids a facility like this.”
“I can’t even tell you everything that we’re planning on doing with this facility,” Smalls said. “These are the sort of things I’m looking to do through soccer, through this organization, and positively impacting this community, and [Chase] is going to be a major player in that. Their commitment on the new facility is just incredible.”
Smalls plans to expand the program in the coming years, adding a clubhouse and an afterschool program. For now, though, he is concentrating on the new facility.
“These kids deserve the best, like everyone else,” Smalls said. “We have this thing with the three Cs: Be confident, competent, and caring. That’s really what they should get out of this program.”
The new field, he added, is “a place they can call their own, and that’s so important.”
Danielle Elliot is a freelance journalist based in New York. She has written features for National Geographic, The Atlantic, Grantland, Vice Sports, Yahoo Sports, and other outlets. She has produced for NBC, Fox Sports, and others.
Coaches from the Chelsea Foundation will fly out to New York this week to assist our partner club FC Harlem with a variety of coaching projects and outreach programmes.
FC Harlem and the Foundation have been officially working in partnership to develop community initiatives for young people in New York since July 2013, while our coaches first held sessions for local young players during the summer tour to the United States a year earlier.
This month’s visit will see the Foundation coaches assisting with FC Harlem’s annual trials for their Under-15 and Under-17 Young L.I.O.N.S (Leaders In Our Neighbourhoods) teams as well as working with younger players at the club aged 6-12.
Away from FC Harlem directly, our coaches will also visit local schools within the community and put on a session for New York children’s charity The Children’s Aid Society.
The LIONS concept is a fantastic one with the selected players also committed to doing work in the community and this year they have extended it and included an Under-17 side so the project is continuing to grow.
—Andy Ottley, Chelsea Foundation international technical support officer
Chelsea Foundation international technical support officer Andy Ottley, who has been visiting FC Harlem since the partnership began, said: ‘It is great to be going back and helping out with selection for their teams.
“The LIONS concept is a fantastic one with the selected players also committed to doing work in the community and this year they have extended it and included an Under-17 side so the project is continuing to grow.”
“We are always well received in Harlem by the players, parents, schools and those involved with Children’s Aid so it is a pleasure to be returning and continuing to make a difference.”
Ottley last visited Harlem in July and he was joined by some famous faces from the Chelsea first team including Diego Costa, Oscar and Eden Hazard.
The players were in town to celebrate both the launch of our kits for the 2015/16 season and a project to make a major addition to Harlem’s soccer infrastructure with adidas and the Chelsea Foundation inviting teenage players, both boys and girls, onto a specially constructed blue pitch court to exhibit their skills in a 2v2 knockout contest.
“Having the players visit in the summer was huge,’ added Ottley. ‘They had been before but we have new players now so showing the ties to the club as well as the Foundation is another way to inspire the kids and the coaches who we work so hard with.”
“I think the standard impressed the players! A current FC Harlem player was a winner of the 2v2 contest, so the coaches must be allowing the players to express themselves in the right way.”
“This is a project the club and the Foundation are committed to for the long term and hopefully the players witnessed that and enjoyed seeing what we have been doing for the past few years in Harlem.”
Chelsea FC Dedicates “Blue Pitch” site for FC Harlem Training Ground
CHELSEA FC DEDICATES “BLUE PITCH” SITE FOR FC HARLEM TRAINING GROUND
Written By: isps |Jul 22, 2015
Chelsea Football Club executives, manager and first team players stood alongside representatives from affiliate club, FC Harlem, to announce the launch of an iconic new Blue Pitch training facility in Harlem that will serve as a revolutionary, year-round community hub for local youth soccer players.
Representatives from Chelsea FC and FC Harlem were joined at the dedication by partners Chase, Yokohama Tire, Delta Air Lines and adidas.
The relationship between the two clubs began in July 2012 when the Chelsea FC Foundation ran a clinic for members of FC Harlem as part of the club’s visit to New York.
Since that initial event, the relationship between the organizations has continued to grow, with Chelsea Foundation coaches making regular visits to FC Harlem to educate and inspire a new generation of local coaches.
“The new pitch will positively impact youth not only by instilling in them core life skills such as resilience, integrity, responsibility and teamwork but also by providing employment and internship opportunities for participants, becoming a beacon for FC Harlem’s ground-breaking community work.”
FC Harlem executive director Irv Smalls
The Blue Pitch training facility will form part of Chelsea FC’s “Here to Play, Here to Stay” philosophy – the club’s initiative to make a long-term commitment to the development of football at the grassroots level in the places we visit, leaving a long-standing legacy in those countries. Site highlights include:
The new state-of-the-art, permanent community soccer facility will be New York’s first covered soccer facility and will be floodlit, enabling year-round use and for longer hours each day
Working with state and city authorities, FC Harlem identified a site which would allow for complete regeneration of a plot of land to the west side of Harlem
The site, located at Riverside Drive and 145th Street underneath the Henry Hudson Highway, will be an anchor venue to support FC Harlem and other community programs year-round
Construction work on the $3 million facility is due to begin in early 2016, with the ambition of creating a world class inner-city soccer program that will become the blueprint for further community facilities across the United States.
Soccer has global appeal, and Harlem is Manhattan’s most culturally diverse neighborhood.
FC Harlem executive director Irv Smalls
Chelsea FC Foundation & FC Harlem Announce Official Partnership
The Chelsea Football Club Foundation and FC Harlem today (Wednesday) announced a partnership to develop community initiatives for young people in New York.
The Young L.I.O.N.S (Leaders In Our Neighbourhoods) initiative will develop exciting opportunities for young people, providing positive activities and developing social and leadership skills.
The two organizations have previously collaborated during Chelsea’s visits to New York in the summer of 2012 and the spring of 2013, and Foundation and FC Harlem coaches have been exchanging ideas and developing the programme throughout this time.
We are delighted to partner with FC Harlem, one of the leading community clubs in the United States
– Chelsea Chief Executive Ron Gourlay
The partnership is an extension of our Here to Play, Here to Stay initiative which is dedicated to building education and soccer training platforms for children around the world. The Chelsea Under-21 squad joined FC Harlem for several events in their neighbourhood this week.
Activities included a visit to the world-famous Apollo theatre, a meal at Red Rooster to meet celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson and a training session at FC Harlem’s home pitch to officially launch the community partnership.
‘We are delighted to partner with FC Harlem, one of the leading community clubs in the United States,’ said Chelsea Chief Executive Ron Gourlay.
‘The partnership highlights the importance of football in developing individuals and their communities, which is something we are passionately committed to. Both Chelsea and FC Harlem share a belief that we can use sport to make a real difference. Our Academy squad’s visit to New York created an ideal opportunity to announce our new partnership.’
Founded in 1990 as Harlem Youth Soccer Association (HYSA), the FC Harlem programme offers children a safe place to play, right in the heart of Harlem. More than 1,000 children participate annually in after-school soccer programmes, beginner clinics and competitive travel teams.
‘We look forward to this new partnership with the Chelsea FC Foundation,’ said FC Harlem Executive Director Irv Smalls.
‘Harlem is historically one of the most recognised and culturally significant inner city neighbourhoods in the world. Chelsea is one of the top football clubs in the world, however it is their commitment off the pitch in communities like Harlem and our shared belief that soccer can be used to strengthen communities and develop leaders that has brought us together for this groundbreaking partnership.’
The Foundation is an integral part of Chelsea’s vision of excellence on the pitch mirrored by groundbreaking work in our communities. The Foundation believes the power of football can bring about positive changes in people’s lives and their communities, address inequalities in society and boost health and fitness.
As well as offering outstanding football development programmes, the Chelsea Foundation works on a broad range of initiatives focusing on employment, education, social inclusion, crime reduction and tackling youth offending.
The Chelsea first team will visit the United States in early August to take part in the International Champions Cup at the Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis(1 August), the MetLife Stadium in New Jersey (4 August) and the Sun Life Stadium in Miami (date TBD) to wrap-up our pre-season preparations.
Fans interested in additional information on the clubs and the new partnership are invited to follow Chelsea onTwitter at @ChelseaFC and FC Harlem at @FCHarlem.
Blues Show the way in Harlem
Blues Show the Way in Harlem
This is our training field to develop kids, not just on the field but off it as well. We do enrichment programmes which focus on academic support, leadership skills, career development and all-round healthy living.
Chelsea players including Petr Cech, Demba Ba and David Luiz joined Foundation coaches and youngsters from local club FC Harlem for a coaching clinic in New York on Friday. Also attending were Nathan Ake, Jamal Blackman, Andreas Christensen and Ruben Loftus-Cheek, at the facility in west Harlem visited by former Blue Graeme Le Saux on our tour last summer.
The pitch, an artificial surface suitable for small-sided games which is located near the Hudson River and below one of this part of Manhattan’s iconic, raised railway lines, was converted from a parking lot, and is one of two FC Harlem use. Their executive director Irv Smalls was delighted to welcome Chelsea stars to the coaching clinic.
“Today was an amazing day with Chelsea Football Club here, ”he said. “We wanted to see how we could use football to have a positive effect on the community.”
“Having a club like Chelsea here, having the players and the coaches, is really important because it helps the children feel a part of something big. This is our training field to develop kids, not just on the field but off it as well. We do enrichment programmes which focus on academic support, leadership skills, career development and all-round healthy living. “
“ Having a top club like Chelsea come here and showing those values helps cement things in the minds of the children. “
Cech, who like his team-mates spent time playing games and signing autographs with the 25 kids, spoke of his pride to be involved in the visit.
“We are all delighted to come and meet kids at a fantastic project like this,” he said. “The club takes very serious our work in the community and it is an important part of when we travel to different parts of the world. FC Harlem helps bring the spirit of football into this community which is great.“
Originally founded in 1990 as Harlem Youth Soccer Association (HYSA), the FC Harlem program offers kids a safe place to play the beautiful game, right in the heart of Harlem. More than 1,000 children participate annually in after-school soccer programmes, beginner clinics and competitive travel teams.
Chelsea continues to build upon our ‘Here to Play, Here to Stay’ ethos by leaving lasting legacies in places we visit.
All year round we are active in the US via our Super Clubs programmes in Baltimore, Phoenix, Dallas and Atlanta, and we look forward to continuing our work with FC Harlem in New York.
Chelsea FC and Right to Play run clinic with FC HARLEM
The size of crowds Chelsea draw to our games in the United States is one indicator of the increasing popularity of football in the country, but just as significant is the emergence of specialist community pitches exclusively for the sport in neighbourhoods like New York’s Harlem district.
It was at just such a location that Chelsea Foundation coaches, in conjunction with our global charity partner Right To Play, held sessions for 15 to 17-year-olds from FC Harlem, a youth development programme that uses the power of football to have a positive impact on kids and communities.
‘It has been a fantastic experience to come down and work with these guys and it is great that people had the foresight to look beyond what is already there in the community and squeeze a pitch in.
Ian Woodroffe, Chelsea Foundation international development manager
The facility, an artificial surface suitable for small-sided games which is located near the Hudson River and below one of this part of Manhattan’s iconic, raised railway lines, is one of two FC Harlem use. The other is in central Harlem but it was on the west Harlem site that Chelsea ambassador Graeme Le Saux joined the Foundation coaches for the training and a question and answer session at the end.
‘It is a wonderful community pitch here in the heart of the city and it brings the spirit of football into the communities, and the coaching they are receiving they are really excited about,’ said Le Saux.
‘They asked some really good questions as well. They look at someone who has been in the game and wonder what they can do to have a chance. They obviously play a lot and even if they don’t carry on playing the game in later life they are learning some good life principles.’
Right To Play have a long-standing involvement with FC Harlem which was started by Irv Smalls back in 2006.
‘We had 136 kids in total then and now with different partnerships we have over 1000,’ he told the official Chelsea website.
‘It is all about getting the message out and letting people know we are here. Lot of parents and children are trying different things and there is a community with a large, diverse immigrant background here that already has knowledge of the sport.
‘There are plenty of teams in the New York area to compete against and we also have enrichment activities that focus on healthy lifestyles, developing leaders and homework help.
‘We have talented coaches but when Chelsea come in they teach our kids and our coaches and that is the great thing. We are not saying there is the next Pele here but it is a great way to get the kids introduced to the global game.’
Ian Woodroffe, the Foundation’s international development manager, said: ‘It has been a fantastic experience to come down and work with these guys and it is great that people had the foresight to look beyond what is already there in the community and squeeze a pitch in.
‘The boys have been responding to the opportunity to experience our coaching. We’ve been busy but busy is good. We love to interact and we are here to work with as many people as we can.’
In addition to the work in Harlem, while in New York Chelsea’s Foundation coaches also ran session at Long Island University in conjunction with Samsung. All year round Chelsea are active in the States via our Super Clubs programme.
FC HARLEM and UMBRO sign retail licensing agreement
FC Harlem and Umbro enter into a 3-year sponsorship retail licensing agreement.
As part of the agreement, Umbro will sponsor FC Harlem’s Men’s Under 20 team in the United Soccer League and provide discounts to the organization on uniform and equipment needs. Additionally, Umbro will help build FC Harlem’s brand awareness by bringing an FC Harlem sports line to the retail market. FC Harlem will be one of the first, if not the first, youth sports organization to have its brand sold to the general public.
A percentage of all sales will support organizational programming.
FC Harlem opens youth training field with Thierry Henry and Rafa Marquez
FC Harlem opens youth training field with Thierry Henry and Rafa Marquez
It was an exciting day and a huge honor to take part in the unveiling of FC Harlem’s new soccer field yesterday in Riverside Park. The event was filled with a fervent group of kids that got the opportunity to participate in a coaching session directed by the New York Red Bulls. The professional players, Thierry Henry and Rafael Márquez, demonstrated how school subjects such as math also come in handy while playing soccer. Angles and strategies are important aspects of the game. It’s amazing what children can learn from soccer. Lessons that I learned from soccer are ones that I have used throughout my life.
Irv Smalls, Executive Director of FC Harlem said it perfectly when he stated, “This field will allow sports to have a positive influence on the upcoming generation.” It’s inspiring to see that an empty parking lot has been turned into a place for the kids and the community of Harlem to use as a powerful vehicle for social change. This field provides children with a chance to play and creates chances and opportunities to learn and grow from the game of soccer.
This event truly gave back to the community and it was rewarding to see how revitalizing this soccer field has a positive effect. When it comes down to putting something like this together one must have passion and vision, which Irv Smalls certainly possesses. Now parents have a safe place and an incredible organization to help inspire and empower their children. At the end of the ceremony, a male and a female participant were chosen to kick off the start of this new field. One of the kickers, Sydney Ashton said, “It felt really great kicking the soccer ball. It was nice. It was an exciting day.”
I have my restaurant Red Rooster here in Harlem and everything that it took to build that establishment correlates with things that I learned on the soccer field: You have to be a teammate, you have to work very hard, you have to listen to your coach, and it’s with the same drive that I obtained from soccer that I have put towards my cooking career. The advice that my coach gave me all those years ago while playing the sport has made me a better chef today. The parents and kids are in great hands with an organization like FC Harlem.
I expressed to the children who participated in yesterday’s event that eating healthy and making good food choices, such as munching on enough vegetables and eating only a small amount of fried food are key for good eating and athleticism. I encouraged parents to use fresh ingredients and to think about healthy snack options before sending their kids to play soccer. At Red Rooster, we will soon offer kids in the community free cooking classes to teach them about the importance of using fresh and healthy ingredients. I was thankful to be invited to this event because it was a great day for everyone here in Harlem and I thoroughly enjoy supporting anything that is related to benefiting the youth. When we come together as a community, we can create something really beautiful.