Monday, June 1, 2009

The 2009 Childhood Soccer Tournament

Childhood USA and Blatte United invited young kids from New York to a day of soccer, food, ice cream and fun at the Met Oval Foundation Soccer Field in Queens, one of New York's oldest.

Marcus Samuelsson and two young New Yorkers. 

Charlotte Brandin, Childhood USA, 
and Selim Adira, Blatte United Football Club.

About 50 kids from Bronx, Brooklyn, Harlem and Queens got a chance to play soccer in the sun on Sunday, May 31st. Among the teacher were Swedish-born amateur soccer players,  including New York's famous chef, Marcus Samuelsson, and hedge fund manager Medufia "Keke" Kulego.   

-It a chance for us to highlight what childhood is about, says Charlotte Brandin, Executive Director for Childhood USA, the U.S. section of World Childhood Foundation. We hope to repeat the tournament next year, she adds. 

-It's fun to combine multiculturalism with soccer and to do it here in Queens. It's a great theme for our cooperation with Childhood USA, and a lot of fun to teach kids play soccer, Marcus Samuelsson says in break between two games.  

-We always have tournaments for adults, but we always wanted to do something for the children, says Selim Adira, whoese parents immigrated to Sweden from Marocco. He moved to New York four years ago and runs the residence for the Swedish U.S. Ambassador.  

"The 2009 Childhood Soccer Tournament" was arranged with support from Volvo Group North America and AQ Kafé. Childhood USA hopes that the soccer event will benefit its five charity partners in New York: Family Advocacy Program in Bronx, Northside Center for Child Development in Harlem; Safe Space Drop-In Center in Far-Rockaway i Queens, Chances for Children in Bronx and Inwood House in Manhattan.

-It's a fantastic thing, and the staff is doing such a wonderful job. They are really dedicated to help the children, says Maria Williams, a Queens resident whose four year old daughter join the games with gusto despite never having played soccer before. 

A four year old soccer enthusiast from Queens.

 Portia from Bronx with her youngest 
daughter, five-year old Navaia.  

-They told me about the program at the Family Advocacy Program in the Bronx. I thought it was fun. I used to play on a soccer team when I was younger, and I wanted my three daughters to get the experience, says Portia, a mother of three.

-Soccer is fun, and hard, says her oldest daughter Destiny, who is eight. She adds that the hard part is to get the ball in the net. I want to join the Bronx Rangers, she says.

-I like soccer. It was fun, and I like to run. And I made a goal, says her sister, seven-year old Jamaia.  

Terrence Johnson, a teacher at Middle School 399
in Bronx some of his eleven students 
who attended the soccer event.

-It’s a good event, because we are from Bronx, and soccer is not a game that a lot of kids get to play. They were excited to get to do something you normally don’t get to do, says Terrence Johnson, a middle school teacher from Bronx. 

Met Oval Soccer Field with Manhattan's
skyline in the background.

Marcus Samuelson teaches soccer. 

Kick off!

Ready for the game! Assistant Coach 
Mahir Ali Hossein and his team.

Marcus Samuelson instructing his soccer students. 

A student training with the Swedish hedge fund
manager and Medufia "Keke" Kulego.

Charlotte Brandin, Childhood USA and 
Christina Moliteus, SWEA and board 
member at Childhood USA.

Text & Photo: Hans Sandberg   Copyright: Hans Sandberg

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