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soccer for Success

Youngsters flocked to PPL Park for the Chester Upland Soccer for Success program’s Play Day late this spring, enjoying a day of fun at the home of Major League Soccer’s Philadelphia Union.

The third- and fourth-grade students participated in a soccer tournament in the plaza just outside the stadium, and the day included stadium tours and team photos on the Union’s playing field.

Soccer for Success is the U.S. Soccer Foundation's free soccer-based
 after-school program that uses soccer as a tool to combat childhood obesity
 and promote healthy lifestyles for children in under-resourced urban
 communities. The Foundation partners with community-based organizations 
across the country to operate Soccer for Success sites.

“I definitely think it’s a great positive outlet,” said Brendan Grady, program assistant for Soccer for Success. “With each of our teams at each of our school sites, we try to build a positive team culture, and it’s cool to have a program like today, the Play Day, where we get all of our school sites together so we can really build that positive team culture throughout the entire program.”

“I like the program because it teaches our children how to compliment other students, to always find the good in what someone else has done and compliment that,” said Patricia Valote, principal of Frederic Douglass Christian School in Chester, Pa. “It’s been an effective program, and I do plan to continue it next year.”

The Soccer for Success program here began last year with 350 participants in three locations, and has expanded to nearly 500 students in seven locations: Drexel Neumann Academy, Stetser Elementary, the Widener Partnership Charter School, Chester Community Charter School (East and West), Chester Charter School for the Arts, and Frederick Douglas Christian School.

The program is the result of collaboration among a number of entities, including Widener’s Athletic Department and School of Nursing, the Widener Center for Violence Prevention, and the Widener student-led group North Star Sports.