D.C. United's reaches out to community with youth programs

D.C. United’s youth program, United Soccer Club, will holds a big event on Saturday to close out the season. Photo: D.C. United's youth program United for Soccer (D.C. United)

WASHINGTON, November 19, 2013 - Since the club’s inception, D.C. United’s motto and philosophy has always been to produce championship teams and serve the local community.

The club has certainly produced championship teams, winning numerous titles. This season United won its 13th trophy, winning the prestigious U.S. Open Cup by downing the favorites Real Salt Lake 1-0 on the road. And the club, continues to reach out and and serve the local community, a tradition instigated by its former president Kevin Payne back in 1996.

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The club’s non-profit arm, United for D.C., has been involved in numerous projects over the years involving reading programs, nutritional programs and teaching soccer skills. One of United for D.C’s biggest programs is the United Soccer Club (USC) that operates over the year, teaching soccer skills and hosting games and scrimmages.

The USC will hold its League of Champions tournament to mark the end of Club’s fall season on Saturday, Nov. 23 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on the RFK Stadium Training Field, which and will involve participants, ages 6-12, from the Club’s current season.

The USC enrolled close to 650 children in the program this fall, focusing on the importance of a healthy lifestyle through physical activity and proper nutrition. The program operates at 12 elementary-aged sites with two additional middle school teams.

All teams, led by local coaches, trained after school three times a week for 90-minute sessions.

The tournament is a chance for all participants, having just completed a 10-week program, to showcase their newly developed skills for family and friends. There will be nutritional food and drink for the athletes, as well as food trucks for spectators.

Elementary sites located in Wards 1, 5, 6, 7 and 8 include: Fort Davis Parks and Recreation Center, J.O. Wilson Elementary School, Barry Farm Recreation Center, Ketcham Elementary School, Amidon-Bowen Elementary School, FBR Branch at The ARC, Turkey Thicket Recreation Center, Harrison Parks and Recreation Center, Payne Elementary School, Parkview Recreation Center, Richard England Clubhouse #14 and Long Branch Community Center in Silver Spring, Md.

The program is funded primarily by the US Soccer Foundation (USSF) as a partner in the USSF’s national Soccer for Success program.  Additional support is provided by Volkswagen, Montgomery County Recreation, D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation and the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Washington.

When you look at the great teams in the world such as Barcelona and Manchester United a key factor in their success was the developed of youth players and developing their soccer academies. Who knows, maybe a youngster from the United Soccer Club program will be inspired to go on and play professional soccer.

SEE RELATED: D.C. United has youth crop to build for next season

John Haydon wrote a weekly soccer column for The Washington Times for 20 years. He has covered two World Cups and written about Major League Soccer from the league’s inception in 1996.

Follow John on Twitter at @Johnahaydon or email jhaydon@washingtontimes.com

This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ WashingtonTimes.com. Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.

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John Haydon

John Haydon has covered soccer for The Washington Times for two decades. He has reported on international soccer events in Germany, South Korea and Spain. John hails from Birmingham, England and has lived in the Washington D.C. region for over twenty years.  

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