Manchester United Schools hosts Clinic for 50 FC Harlem Travel Team Players

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Manchester United Schools hosts Clinic for 50 FC Harlem Travel Team Players

NEW YORK — Splashed across much of Manchester United Soccer School’s equipment are the words, “Learn to play the United way.”

But what exactly is the “United way?” According to the famed club, it’s not only about teaching kids “to play attractive attacking football” but also to “provide a fun and safe learning environment.”

Ahead of Wednesday’s MLS All-Star Game (8:30 p.m. ET; ESPN2/TeleFutura/TSN), the Red Devils’ affiliated youth soccer program brought that philosophy to New York City, where it hosted a clinic for local players at Jacob Schiff Soccer Field in Harlem on Sunday.


However, thanks to local youth team FC Harlem, the “United way” — and especially the second part of it — is already being practiced by more than 600 inner-city kids aged from 4-19 years old. But there are challenges in doing that, said Irvine Smalls, the club’s executive director.

“Some of these kids don’t have their parents around, some of these kids miss work to play,” Smalls said. “They have many social issues … and it’s the responsibility of an organization such as FC Harlem to address some of these needs to see how there can be a pipeline into the US system.”


Smalls envisions clubs like his enabling talented inner-city kids to pursue a playing career in college by teaching them how the system—or, the US soccer pipeline—functions while also helping them improve their soccer chops.

As it stands, Smalls said, most players who successfully navigate a professional soccer career in the United States do so through those middle-class communities that traditionally feed the colleges. So, clubs such as FC Harlem look to foster a safe, structured playing environment to ultimately help local kids make a more positive impact on the national game.

“I think if we can get more kids into the sport, I think it could be valuable for MLS teams, it could be valuable for the national team, as well,” Smalls said. “But the reality of it is soccer is tied to the academic model.”



Despite some oppressive heat, more than 50 players of all ages and nationalities—Ecuadoran, Mexican, Ghanian, Togolese, Sierra Leonean and those from the Caribbean were just a few Smalls mentioned—were treated to a series of drills led by some of Manchester United’s top youth coaches.

Separated into age groups, the players worked on their touch and fitness while curious onlookers surrounded the small swath of astroturf laid straight on top of concrete. There was plenty of laughing, though it was clear some young players were looking to impress the elite visitors.

“New York City’s tough when you’re working off a field like this,” Smalls said. “It’s more about how to expose more kids [to soccer], see if we can use sport as a vehicle to get them to go to college, and at the same time let’s see how we can get more kids of color into the pipeline of the US.”




FC Harlem, Women’s Sports Foundation and Sports United host soccer clinic for 18 girls from around the world

SportsUnited is the State Department’s exchange program promoting diplomacy and cultural awareness through sports.

Sports United brought 18 girls and six coaches from Bolivia, Germany, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Palestinian Territories and South Africa to New York City and Washington, D.C., to attend an honorary ceremony with the Secretary, play soccer with their American peers and watch the final U.S. Women’s National Team game before the Women’s World Cup. The young women came to the FC Harlem field where FC Harlem coaches and the Head Coach of Army’s men soccer team took them through drills and ended with a match.

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Time Warner Cable and Fox Soccer Unveil Youth Field for FC Harlem

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Great Day For Soccer in Harlem

By: Nanette Posman

Everyone in attendance at the official opening of Harlem’s newest soccer field at 145th Street and Riverside Drive agreed it was a great day for the kids who belong to FC Harlem. FC Harlem is a community youth development organization that believes sports and education can be powerful vehicles for social change and great for the whole community.

It took the support of multiple key players to bring the idea to fruition. Time Warner Cable Sports, Fox Soccer Plus and Fox Soccer Channel, U.S. Soccer Foundation, FC Harlem and the NYC Department of Environmental Protection all played a role in the mission to transform a vacant, unused lot into a beautiful field that will provide local kids with a safe retreat to enjoy fun and healthy recreation in their neighborhood.

The field revitalization is part of a larger initiative called Operation Community Cup, a project forged by the partnership of Time Warner Cable Sports and Fox Soccer Plus. Plans are currently in the works to revitalize soccer fields in Los Angeles and Columbus.


Joining us for opening day festivities were New York Red Bulls players Tim Ream and Carl Robinson who conducted a special clinic for kids from FC Harlem, Police Athletic League (PAL) and Harlem’s Children Zone, who were invited to initiate the new field. Both players mesmerized the kids with their impressive moves, answered questions, posed for photos and signed autographs.


To drive home the point that math is very much a part of the game, Time Warner Cable lined the field with illustrations of triangles, acute, obtuse and right angles, all demonstrating how each of these angles are executed on the soccer field. It was pretty remarkable to watch the kids clamoring for the chance to trace geometric angles on the poster boards.

Aside from the aesthetic and recreational benefits, the new field will also provide an important environmental function. It’s designed to capture storm water that will be absorbed into the ground. A local artist unveiled a mural capturing the spirit of the new space to mark the grand opening, too.


In his remarks following the ceremonial ribbon cutting, FC Harlem Executive Director Irv Smalls reiterated the PAL philosophy that ‘before kids can go places, they need a place to go.’ On a banner hanging behind the bleachers, parents shared their own thoughts. One parent wrote, “Thank you for supporting our community and caring about our kids.”

It was our pleasure!

Amerigroup Foundation donates 10K to FC Harlem

Amerigroup a Fortune 500 Company, coordinates services for individuals in publicly funded health care programs. Serving approximately 2 million members in 11 states nationwide. Amerigroup who focuses on underserved communities presented a check  for Ten Thousand Dollars to FC Harlem to help support its programs.


FC Harlem unveils youth soccer field at Children’s Aid Society

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FC Harlem Unveils youth soccer field at Children’s Aid Society

By: Timothy Williams

What was once a rundown asphalt playground in the center of Harlem is now home to an oasis of green where youth soccer players from FC Harlem and local organizations can play the game they love.

“I’m proud of this day and this moment. As far as FC Harlem, we’ve come a long way, and without the support of the U.S. Soccer Foundation behind us, this would not have been possible. It’s helping a lot of all these kids in the communities and I’m proud of it.”
Glen Daley, Founder of FC

On April 9, 2010 the U.S. Soccer Foundation joined Irv Smalls, Executive Director of FC Harlem, Major League Soccer, The Children’s Aid Society, FieldTurf, and local politicians for the grand opening of a FieldTurf soccer field in downtown Harlem.


“This great day was a long time coming,” said Smalls

In 2008, the U.S. Soccer Foundation and MLS W.O.R.K.S. sponsored a gala to raise funds for the field project in Harlem – a city where safe play spaces and positive activities are desperately needed for area youth.

“Soccer is the world’s most popular game. But it’s more than a game, it’s a vehicle to get kids connected to positive outcomes in their life, to increase their physical activity, to get them connected to positive adult role models, and also to teach them teamwork, collaboration, and discipline,” said Ed Foster-Simeon, President of the U.S. Soccer Foundation.

Richard Buery, President and CEO of the Children’s Aid Society, a non-profit dedicated to serving the children of New York City, also recognized the importance of the new field to the community.

“We know young people need mentorship, support, education, and of course sports, because we know that sports are a great tool to teach leadership, to teach teamwork to help people be healthy and happy,” said Buery.

“This is the largest city in the country, and it’s a city that’s made up of people from all other countries from around the world,” added Don Garber, Commissioner of Major League Soccer. “This is the beautiful game that represents every ethnicity and it is such a diverse opportunity for people to come together and celebrate this sport.”

Learn more about Field Grants from the U.S. Soccer Foundation.