Glen Haven Friday Nights
With children not being able to attend school and after school activities limited, the NC Fusion Foundation partnered with local volunteers at the Glen Haven Apartment Complex to host a weekly Friday afternoon soccer clinic. The goal was to create an opportunity for players in the community with a special emphasis on young female refugee players. There are a variety of barriers for female refugees to partake in sports and this clinic was designed to alleviate those barriers and create access for females who may not otherwise engage in physcial activity or sport. Each week volunteer coaches and high school players help to run soccer stations and scrimmages on the open field at the entrance to the complex. Coach John Pardini helped to solicit female ECNL players and several teenagers in the Foundation served as coaches. Glen Haven is home to a large refugee population with families from Congo, Nepal, Bhutan and other nations. There are over 65 kids that participate in sessions and that includes nearly 30 females.
The use of peer aged coaches serves multiple benefits. Several of the high school players are refugees who grew up in the Glen Haven Apartment Complex. They have similar backgrounds and speak the same language as our young players. This serves to help connect with the players and also translate for the adults. Once again, these teenagers serve as valuable role models and help young players see a pathway to success that includes school and soccer. In addition, our teenagers gain valuable life skills having to navigate the challenges that come with coaching. Our goal is to continue this program in the spring. Furthermore, with the help of donations we were able to provide each player with new or gently used cleats, socks and Fusion shirts. In addition, we have also worked to provide kids and families with school supplies, warm clothing now that its winter and other items as needed.