Teams Take Role in Boston Youth Soccer

Jose L. A. camacho

The Harvard men’s and women’s soccer teams helped teach Boston area children involved with the New England SCORES program about soccer yesterday afternoon.

Everybody knows that off-season training can be hellish.

Running, workouts and the ever growing heat of spring can all add up to long and painful days.

In the midst of their off-season, the Harvard men and women’s soccer teams took an afternoon yesterday to just have some fun and use their soccer skills in an unconventional way.

In the bright afternoon sun, the two Crimson teams took part in City Kicks and helped teach a number of urban elementary schoolers—in grades three through five—who participate in the New England’s SCORES program. SCORES is an eclectic after-school program mixing soccer with academic study and community service.

“Our relationship with New England SCORES has given our student-athletes a great opportunity to be positive role models for children,” said Gary Crompton, an assistant coach for the men’s team.

All in all, around 240 children from various public schools in the Boston Area were involved in the three-year old annual event. Yesterday afternoon was sponsored by Computer Associates in conjunction with Harvard University.

“College Kicks is a tremendous opportunity for urban kids to interact with college students,” said Kathy Fitzgerald, Executive Director of New England SCORES. “The day inspires our students to view college as an attainable goal, not as an impossible dream.”

For the players, it seems like the event was a good way to mix having fun with soccer and community service.

When asked if he thought being from Harvard and a varsity player meant that the kids would look up to him, freshman Charles Altchek said he was not sure if they were old enough to understand.

“They’re just having a lot of fun,” Altchek said. “It’s a lot of fun for us too.”

At 3 p.m.—when the festivities were supposed to begin—the kids were busy running around the field playing various sorts of games. In contrast, the men of the Crimson seemed a bit out of it—looking quite tired relaxing in the shade after getting up at 7 a.m. for off-season practice.

Minutes later, however, the players sat themselves down amongst the children and listened to sophomore Nick Tornaritis give a speech on working hard and playing soccer everyday.

His talk focused on going to college as the ultimate goal for the kids and the effort it would take to play soccer at a higher level.

“I basically played all the time with my dad.” Tornaritis said. “All that anybody needs is someone to learn from—this is the most important thing—it doesn’t matter who it is.”

Harvard men’s head coach John Kerr spoke next, emphasizing that the day was meant to be fun and relaxed.

“The best thing you can do today is have fun,” Kerr said. “Put a smile on your face.”