Bringing soccer to North Bklyn kids

The Brooklyn Paper

Kids love soccer. The reason why it is the most popular sport in the world is not a mystery: Any kid can play the game; it’s simple to learn, easy to play, requires almost no equipment, doesn’t favor kids who are taller or stronger and every player on the field gets a chance to handle the ball, make plays and dream of the World Cup.

For kids in North Brooklyn (and Long Island City, Ridgewood, Bushwick and Bed-Stuy), the dream of soccer starts on McCarren Park’s beautifully resurfaced soccer field; home to the Greenpoint Williamsburg Youth Soccer League.

Today, the GWYSL is the biggest youth sports organization in all of North Brooklyn and it all started with a few families meeting in the park on weekends for pickup games. This year, more than 600 kids will cover McCarren Park’s soccer field with color and ecstatic noise as part of the two-week GWYSL Soccer Skills Camp in July and every Saturday from September to December during the GWYSL’s Fall Season.

Registration has already started online at www.gwysl.com and in-person registration events are coming up for families to sign up for the GWYSL Summer Soccer Skills camp and upcoming Fall Season, both in McCarren Park.

The GWYSL is an all-volunteer, family-oriented non-profit region of the American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO Region #1328) and the League subscribes to the AYSO philosophy of making soccer FUN, SAFE and FAIR for ALL kids, regardless of experience or skills.

There is overwhelming evidence, which supports the idea that team sports are good for kids because they build character, boost self-esteem, help with socialization skills, enhance physical fitness, and teach strategy — not to mention giving kids a styling wardrobe of cool jerseys. The GWYSL believes that all of the above also applies to their parents.

According to Dewey Thompson, commissioner of the GWYSL, “To us, kids soccer, in addition to truly being “the beautiful game” is a great excuse for families from every corner of our neighborhood to hang out and have fun together.”

Katherine Thompson, assistant commissioner, adds, “Our coaches, referees, and administrators – they’re all moms and dads pitching in to create a great experience for our kids. That home-grown feeling and the fact that we are very serious about our commitment to the focus being on fun rather than intense competition makes the GWYSL a special place for families.”

Head Coach Rockwell Harwood said that this year the league is making a big push to get more girls to play. “We’ve always had a great girl/boy mix and they play great together,” added Harwood. “But, if we can get a few more girls we’ll be able to create an all-girl division and all-girl teams have proved to be a great way to keep girls playing longer.”

There are scholarships available for families that need help.

Register online now and find out more information about both the Summer Soccer Skills Camp (July 14-18 and 21-25) and to get on a team for the Fall Season (September-December) at www.gwysl.com.

In person GWYSL registration will be held on the following dates and locations:

· June 2 & 5 from 6-8 p.m. at the Greenpoint Reform Church, 136 Milton Street in Greenpoint

· June 7 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the McCarren Park Soccer Field, bordered on Nassau Avenue and Bayard, Leonard and North 12th streets.

· June 21 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the PS 78 Spring Fair, Gantry State Park, 48-09 Center Boulevard in Long Island City, Queens.


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