NCFC Youth Aims to Make Soccer Accessible to All Youth

SECURING FIELDS

Those who grew up in the Raleigh area may remember the Mini-City Soccer Fields off Capital Boulevard. Over time, these fields slowly disappeared and turned into various box stores and chain restaurants.

The population growth of the Triangle has resulted in a great deal of private land development. Field space can be hard to come by these days. As a result, NCFC Youth is dedicated to the acquisition, maintenance and development of fields to give more kids the opportunity to play soccer. Following are some ways that NCFC Youth ensures kids have the space to play.

  • NCFC Youth owns and operates WRAL Soccer Park, which is a 22-field complex in Raleigh.
  • Three-time Olympic gold medalist Heather O'Reilly (top row, center) visited the ECNL team, the top girls' team in the club last fall.
    Three-time Olympic gold medalist Heather O’Reilly (top row, center) visited the ECNL team, the top girls’ team in the club last fall.
  • The organization partners with schools, municipalities, and private entities to accommodate the growing population and increasing interest in youth soccer. NCFC Youth uses more than 40 additional facilities throughout the year for practices, games and tournaments.
  • NCFC YOUTH advocates for and supports the development of new soccer-specific complexes and multi-sport venues, including past facilities like WakeMed Soccer Park, and future sites that include Pleasant Park in Apex, the Wake Competition Center and a new complex being developed in Knightdale on land donated by Wake Stone Corp.

Convenient Access for Families NCFC Youth strives to make soccer not just accessible, but convenient for families. Carpools, work schedules and family schedules make it important to have convenient access to the game.

Recreation programs through NCFC Youth are available in Raleigh, Cary, Morrisville, Apex, Holly Springs, Fuquay-Varina, Durham, Chapel Hill and Wake Forest.

In the recreation program, players are put on teams based on their address. They practice and play games near their home. NCFC Youth also operates programs out of four main hubs: North
(Raleigh and Wake Forest), South (Cary, Apex and Morrisville), DCH (Durham and Chapel Hill) and HSFV (Holly Springs and Fuquay Varina). With more field space set to become available in the future, the goal is to make all programs as convenient as possible for families.

OUTREACH PROGRAMS

Anyone who has played youth soccer knows the benefits and the positive impact these kinds of programs can have on young people. NCFC Youth is committed to making the game accessible to youth who might otherwise not have access to the game through the following outreach programs:

  • TOPSoccer is an adapted program catered to youth with special needs, including mental, physical and developmental disabilities. Volunteer soccer buddies are at each training session to make sure each player is comfortable and confident.
  • This fall, NCFC YOUTH will be partnering with the Durham Police Department to operate a free soccer program for underserved youth in elementary schools across Durham.
  • LA LIGA DEL SOL provides a reduced fee program to underserved youth in greater Wake County.
  • FINANCIAL AID is available. NCFC Youth distributes more than $350,000 each year to qualifying families to help make sure all youth who want to play soccer have the opportunity to do so across all levels of play, regardless of family financial constraints.

By having the connection to the professional teams, a variety of soccer programs, more fields, convenient access and outreach programs, NCFC Youth looks to expand its reach and have a positive influence on more youth through the game of soccer.

About Katherine Eberhardt 1 Article
Katherine Eberhardt has been a part of NCFC Youth (or CASL) in some capacity as a player, coach, and/or full-time employee for more than 20 years. Soccer has had a huge influence on her and she is motivated by the ultimate goal of providing positive experiences and long-term impacts to young players. With a connection to professional teams, a variety of soccer programs, many fields, convenient access, and outreach programs, NCFC Youth seeks to expand its reach and have a positive influence on youth through the game of soccer.

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