Soccer for Success Brings Intramural Athletics to Elementary Students

     Published on 12/18/18   Tagged under:    District News    Dr Weeks Elementary School    Ed Smith    Franklin Elementary School    McKinley-Brighton Elementary School    Meachem Elementary School    Salem Hyde Elementary School    Syracuse Latin    Webster   

This is a photo of a girl and a boy wearing jerseys and holding a soccer ball in their school gym.“Where are you going to be scoring?” Franklin Physical Education teacher Amanda Ferriter asked a group of students lined up in the school’s gym.
“Over there!” they shouted in unison, pointing to a taped off space on the opposite side of the room.
Three days a week for twelve weeks, about 40 students gather in the Franklin Elementary gym for Soccer for Success. Organized by the YWCA of Syracuse and sponsored by the U.S. Soccer Foundation and Trinity Health, the program offers elementary students exposure to organized sports under a coach-mentorship model. The program is free to join and all participants receive a free soccer ball, shin guards and t-shirt.
Every afternoon starts with a check in, in which students share how their day went. They participate in warm-up exercises, practice skills and end each day with a scrimmage. Thursdays are game days.
“I really like playing sports, so when I heard I could play soccer at school, I was interested,” fifth grader Thanh Thanh La said. “I get a lot of exercise, and it’s fun to hang out with my friends after school. It’s making me more active and I’m getting better at sports. I’ve learned how to dribble and how to kick straight, and I’d like to keep playing as I get older!”
“I play other sports like basketball, but I wanted to try something new,” fourth grader Ethan Cambareri said. “I don’t watch a lot of soccer on TV, so this has helped me learn about new things like throw ins and how to control the ball. My favorite part is being able to play with my friends after school.”
In addition to developing their soccer skills, students who participate also learn about eating right and other ways to stay healthy.
“The main goal of the program is to reduce childhood obesity,” David Pittman, YWCA of Syracuse Programs & Development Coordinator, said. “We aim to achieve this through nutrition education and physical exercise. In addition, the program aims to tackle adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) by exposing the students to positive adult role models. This is why we train our coaches to be mentors as well as coaches and we call them coach-mentors.”
Thanks to the coach-mentors, students are also able to build confidence and recognize the value of hard work, teamwork and persistence in achieving goals.
Regardless of a student’s soccer knowledge or ability, Physical Education teacher Amanda Ferriter said, the program is a great opportunity – one that most elementary students don’t have.
“We have some kids who have never touched a soccer ball and others who have great skills,” Ms. Ferriter said. “Statistics show that by age 13, almost three quarters of kids have quit organized sports. We’re using this program to build exposure to organized sports and to help the kids see if they like it.”
Soccer for Success is currently offered in eight SCSD schools: Ed Smith, Dr. Weeks, Franklin, Meachem, Webster, Syracuse Latin, Salem Hyde and McKinley-Brighton. Thank you to the YWCA, U.S. Soccer Foundation and Trinity Health for bringing this great program to the SCSD!