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Camden Youth Soccer Club in pictures

If soccer in the US is to reach its fullest potential, helping the sport grow in disadvantaged urban areas is essential. While US Soccer has begun to recognize this need, volunteers have long been laying the foundation for such efforts. As PSP readers know, the Philadelphia-area has a admirable tradition of volunteer-led urban soccer programs. Beginning with the Lighthouse Club, founded in 1897 and the starting point for many 20th century American soccer greats, through to the Anderson Monarchs and the Kensington Soccer Club, as well as other urban soccer programs in Philadelphia and beyond, volunteers have been the doing the hardwork of teaching kids self esteem, teamwork and community building through soccer, not to mention how to have some healthy outdoor fun playing the most popular sport in the world.

In a two-part series, this week PSP profiles the Camden Youth Soccer Club, founded in 2003, which works with kids aged 4 to 14-years-old. PSP photographer Earl Gardner visited the club over the weekend and shares what he saw in the photo essay below. Also there were players from Haddonfield High School, Hammonton-native Tyler Bellamy of the USL’s Rochester Rhinos and surprise visitor Roger Torres of the Philadelphia Union. Look for part two, a Q & A with CYSC coach Barry Evans, on Wednesday.

Photo by Earl GardnerThe calm before the storm.

Photo by Earl GardnerThe children start the day by warming up with drills.

Photo by Earl GardnerHammonton native Tyler Bellamy of the USL Rochester Rhinos came by to work with the kids.

Photo by Earl GardnerThe kids practicing their dribbling skills.

Photo by Earl GardnerThe kids learn some of the fundamentals from Coach Gerald Van Wilgen.

Photo by Earl GardnerPlayers from Haddonfield High School’s team come out to work with the younger kids.

Photo by Earl GardnerOnce the drills are done, its time to play.

Photo by Earl GardnerTwo defenders battle it  out with this striker.

Photo by Earl GardnerCoach William works on moving the ball around while under pressure.

Photo by Earl GardnerThe Philadelphia Union’s Roger Torres surprised the children by stopping by.

Photo by Earl GardnerThe kids got to take shots on Roger.

Photo by Earl GardnerCoach Barry Evans looks on as a shot goes between Roger’s legs.

Photo by Earl GardnerRoger does all he can to protect himself from this blast.

Photo by Earl GardnerHaving Faryd Mondragon on the team is rubbing off on him.

Photo by Earl GardnerRoger congratulates a goal scored.

Photo by Earl GardnerEveryone got a shot at Roger.

Photo by Earl GardnerTowards the end of practice the kids divide up and play matches.

Photo by Earl GardnerTyler Bellamy takes a turn on the field.

Photo by Earl GardnerA future Sheanon Williams?

Photo by Earl GardnerMaking a run at goal.

Photo by Earl GardnerBattling for the ball.

Photo by Earl GardnerThe goalkeeper takes his goal kick.

Photo by Earl GardnerThe younger kids get their chance to get at the ball.

Photo by Earl GardnerCYSC has kids from 4 to 14-years-old in the club.

Photo by Earl GardnerWho needs orange slices when you pizza at the end of the day?

Photo by Earl GardnerRoger Torres, the Camden Youth Soccer Club Staff and children.

For additional photos, please check out Earl Gardner’s Flickr page.

10 Comments

  1. This is amazing.. This is the right way to grow the game in the USA. God bless all the volunteers!

  2. This is so nice to see!! Thank God one of those kiddos didn’t harm our Roger Torres. Apparently there is a game this weekend that we need him for! 😉

    • Ed Farnsworth says:

      Ha! Yeah, I can see the injury report: “OUT: Roger Torres – swollen heart (joy overload).”

      • Ha – we had Shea Salinas last year, the week before the last game of the season (or maybe it was after, can’t remember exactly) – but we did things different, and he was more active- a 4 year old ran in and grabbed his leg instead of tackling, all i could see was headlines “Philadelphia Union sue CYSC for player tearing his MCL”

  3. Lyana Bonnette says:

    These kids are getting their exercise!
    And they look great out there playing.
    Thank you everyone who contributed to making this happen!.

  4. Pingback: The Philly Soccer Page » The Camden Youth Soccer Club

  5. It does my heart proud to see my son and nephew in these pics. I appreciate everyone who comes out each week to volunteer and coach the children. They are sad when the season ends and excited when it comes around again. We all look forward to Saturdays in the sping and fall. The children truly enjoy themselves and they get great workout. But most of all, they are having fun. Keep up the great work!!

  6. Pingback: The Philly Soccer Page » Help Camden Youth Soccer Club

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