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This letter is in response to your cover article “Kicking and Screaming” (10/3). Undoubtedly, any mention of youth soccer in the United States immediately conjures up thoughts of suburban children, soccer moms, and camcorder-toting fathers running up and down the fields at places like Carter Barron, Hardy, and Deal. The magnitude of these images can be seen around D.C., mostly on the weekends. This point was thoroughly discussed and portrayed by Brian Montopoli.
However, there is another image of youth soccer in D.C. that Montopoli overlookedwhat’s happening on the fields the rest of the week. Every Monday through Friday, more than 600 of District’s inner-city children practice and compete on area soccer fields through an innovative after-school program called D.C. SCORES.
Stoddert is most certainly the largest youth-soccer league in the area, and through its growth it has been able to support those who aim to fill the existing voids within our local soccer community. D.C. SCORES works within 21 public and charter elementary schools in Wards 1,4,5,7, and 8, promoting soccer and literacy through a high-quality, curriculum-based after-school program. The students involved, especially the 300-plus children attending schools east of the river, represent communities that, as the Rev. “Mother” Goodwin accurately points out in the article, are so often ignored. Through D.C. SCORES’ soccer program, more than 600 students are given a chance to spend their hours after school constructively.
D.C. SCORES is a testament to Arnoldo Ramos’ point about “leveraging youth soccer into a tool for unity.” There has always been a need to fill within D.C. SCORES’ agenda. Most often, our limited internal resourceswe are a nonprofitare not enough. Through years of working harmoniously with outside organizations, including the Department of Parks and Recreation, the D.C. Stoddert Soccer League, and the D.C. public schools, D.C. SCORES has flourished, bringing soccer to more than 3,000 children citywide. Our hope is that, with additional funding, we will be able to bring soccer to all of D.C.’s students. This will remain our target in 2004, as we celebrate our 10th anniversary by continuing to enrich the lives of the District’s youth through the world’s No. 1 sport.