Union bringing free youth soccer clinic to South Philly
Meeting with fans is more than just good manners, says Richie Marquez of the Philadelphia Union. He said communicating with the communities that follow them adds a lot to their experience as players.
“It’s great to be able to interact with fans on a more personal level,” he said. “It is just a good way to communicate with one another and get a different perspective you might not get otherwise.”
Two of the Union’s Latino soccer players will be on hand next month for the Union’s free youth soccer clinic in South Philadelphia. The event, “Union Day presented by Novo Nordisk,” was originally slated to kick off earlier this month at Capitolo Park.
April snowfall pushed back “Union Day” to the first Saturday in May. Marquez will be accompanied by Walter Restrepo who joined the team prior to the start of the season.
“For us to get involved and participate in the community is important,” said Restrepo. “As players we remember how important and significant it was for us to start playing soccer when we were kids.”
Union Day in South Philly we be at Capitolo Playground (1301 E. Passyunk Ave.) The event will kick off at 3 p.m. on May 7 and will end around 5 p.m. Along with the soccer clinics, there will also be other games and inflatables for families.
Steve Jacobs, supervisor of Capitolo, said they’re expecting a big crowd.
“I was put in contact with the Union through one of our Hispanic parents who is actively involved at the park and in the community,” he said. “Soccer is really prevalent here, so I thought it was a great idea.”
The park is home to a large soccer community. Both indoor and outdoor leagues are played and kids start playing as young as two or three years old.
“There are three certainties in life for us,” said Jacobs. “Death, Taxes and soccer at Capitolo.”
Marquez said being able to relate to the Latino community in Philadelphia is important to him. He grew up in a Mexican family.
“Growing up I spoke Spanish at home but being out here, I’ve lost touch with it a bit,” said Marquez. “Being able to reconnect with the community is great. I think that goes for everyone involved by the way, not just the fans. The players take a lot of that to heart. This is also about us going out there and showing the community how appreciative we are to them as well.”
Restrepo said events like this help him relieve his childhood. His three kids remind him of the passion for soccer even at an early age.
“Also, since I only moved here recently, I haven’t hand the opportunity to interact with the Latino community yet,” said Restrepo. “But there’s still time of course. What better than this event in South Philly to start doing that.”
Those interested in signing up or want more information can go here.