The mainstream media is always a step behind when it comes to soccer, so it should come as no surprise the New York Times came to Harlem FC a few weeks after I did, highlighting the burgeoning club’s search for fields.
Updating the story, Executive Director Irv Smalls e-mailed me about his weekend, and I had to share it. After the jump, Irv adds more evidence to the mountain of proof that New York is an artesian aquifer waiting to be tapped. Didn’t you know - all the good stuff is underground.
From: Irv Smalls
To: This Is American Soccer [at] gmail [dot] com
Subject: Future FC Harlem Lions
This weekend was all about Harlem Youth Soccer (FC HARLEM) reaching the West African population in Central Harlem. I met a lot of the community on Saturday, and they are excited about getting involved with FC HARLEM. Today I ran into this group of kids playing soccer over at Thomas Jefferson field. They were from Mali, Ghana, Guatemala, France, USA, Cote d’Ivorie, and Mexico. They were so excited about playing organized soccer and they want on the FC HARLEM LIONS travel team real bad!! Ages 11-to-14. When I gave them an MLS ball you should have seen the smiles on their faces.
(Four of the kids have actually called me tonight!)
What was great was to see them playing the pickup game behind the goals during a soccer match, which as usual featured two youth clubs NOT from Harlem. In any event here are some quotes from them today:
Saul, 11, Cote d’ Ivorie: “Those kids out there are not as good as us! We should challenge them all!”
I asked them if it bothered them that they could not get on the field…
Bilal, 13 yrs, Ghana: “It sucks cause I live right over there (pointing to Thomas Jefferson houses) but we will play anywhere even in the street. We all tough like that! (pointing to scrapes on his legs and elbows)
Jose, 12, Mexico: “Soccer is my life, its all I think about….I’m gonna make your travel team!”
Cenen, 14, Mali: “Do you charge a lot like everyone else to play because I don’t have lot of money?