Fighting Childhood Obesity with Soccer

12 Nov

On a Saturday afternoon in Crown Heights, you’ll see a lot of different things. You’ll see men and women walking to synagogue, past storefronts that are closed for the day. You’ll also see groups of questionable young men gathered on corners, small children playing on the sidewalks, heavy car traffic on the avenues. There was a lot of activity last weekend when I volunteered with a local soccer clinic, and I couldn’t help but notice the stark contrast between such different groups of people living in the same neighborhood. But, as I learned, this is how it is now in Crown Heights. And it is good.

I was headed to Hamilton Metz Field for my first experience coaching kids for a soccer clinic. The program is run by Seeds in the Middle, a great non-profit organization in the neighborhood that is fighting childhood obesity and offering sustainable healthy options through a variety of programs, including the soccer clinic. Kids in kindergarten up to 6th grade can sign up to participate in a season long program led by Coach Joe Cabral and a rotating list of dedicated volunteers who love the game.

For 4-5 hours that afternoon, I got to dust off my turf shoes and show off some of my rusty old, 28-yr-old soccer moves to a very pleased audience of 7-10 year old children. More importantly, we ran around and taught them some basic soccer skills while having a lot of fun. There was laughter, supportive cheers, and intense one-on-one situations during our scrimmage. It was a good day and we all learned something; the kids got a little better with their penalty shots, and I learned that some 8 year old girls are deceivingly strong and can kick a ball hard enough to leave a mark!

If you’re looking to relive your days as a high school soccer superstar, or just love the game and want to share your knowledge, sign up to volunteer with Seeds in the Middle and the Crown Heights Soccer Clinic. It’s an amazing program that is led by a coach who is dedicated and excited to see it succeed.

Contact Nancie at for more information about how to volunteer. Click the “Upcoming Events” calendar on the right to see when the next clinic is happening.


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