Soccer in the Streets Registration & Soccer Clinics

Soccer in the Streets’ goal is to promote nutrition and fitness in the community of Huntington Park which has a disproportionate rate of obesity compared to the rest of Los Angeles. At the health fair 16 organizations provided services and education to about 600 kids who also participated in the soccer games, not including adults. Every successful event depends on the behind-the-scenes work of the event coordinators and volunteers. Over 100 signed up to volunteer from USC, UCLA and by word of mouth. Shifts were 2-4 hours in a variety of stations. The registration station was the more complicated and demanding of the volunteer positions. Spanish is primarily spoken amongst this community, so volunteers at the registration tables needed to be bilingual. The child would sign-up and receive instructions on events of the day. Soccer clinics were divided up by age group at certain times on the soccer field and run by LAFC. Expert soccer playing volunteers were also given the chance to help out the clinics and soccer games. Along with a program with general information and a ticket for a free nutritious meal, kids below age 16 received a “Passport to Health” which listed all the organizations in the health fair. The mission for each one of them was to visit 7 different booths in the health fair to get a brochure or actually get screened. Then there was a place to receive a sticker for playing soccer either informally with the volunteers or at LAFC’s clinics. Kids also received a LAFC shirt to serve as their jersey and if completed their mission, would get a free soccer ball. The incentives successfully motivated the kids to visit the health fair and play soccer therefore it’s fair to say, we accomplished our two goals of promoting nutrition and fitness. By 4pm, all 500 balls had been awarded to the younger kids and LAFC wrote down the remaining older kids’ names promising them a soccer ball in the future. I was present most of the day at registration, and kids were so receptive to hearing about the day’s activities and eager to participate in every way possible. Repsonses were positive and they even asked if the event was to be every Sunday. This convinces us that this year’s Soccer in the Streets is indeed the first *annual* and hopefully will be a part of Global Health Awareness Week and the World Health Organization’s World Health Day campaign every year.

Photo taken by Kim Tu