Building community and offering kids the opportunity to play some soccer

Sports

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – Saturday was a beautiful fall day for some soccer over at Pioneer Park in northeast Sioux Falls where members of Riverside Soccer League enjoyed the last day of their fall season.

This fall, Riverside neighborhood kids in northeast Sioux Falls have had the opportunity to play some soccer every Saturday with their friends. For many of them, it was their first time ever playing an organized sport.

“We get to play with our friends, and we get to enjoy our day and eat lunch,” player Jacob Selwyn said.

“What I like about soccer is, they provide food for us when we’re hungry and we get to do fun activities and today we get to play games,” player Jason Selwyn said.

“My friends and Randell, because he’s very nice and I like playing soccer,” player Angel González said.

Randell Beck organized the Riverside Soccer League because of an experience he had mentoring one of the kids from this neighborhood.

“He was in second grade and I discovered very quickly, he is a great soccer player, but on the playground,” Randell Beck, league organizer said. “And when I asked him about what soccer team he was on, he said, ‘well I’m not on a soccer team, I play at school, but because my mom works two jobs and I have to take care of my little brother, I don’t really have an opportunity to play on a soccer team.”

The free league has met for seven Saturdays in a row now for practice and scrimmages. Afterwards, food is provided by the Boys and Girls Club.

“And here’s what we know about organized sports and any kind of extracurricular activity, it makes them better students at school, and it makes them better citizens,” Beck said. “It exposes them to things like teamwork and discipline and self-esteem and good sportsmanship.”

The league has also allowed neighborhood parents to become closer with one another.

“I definitely feel safe having a program, not only for them, but, you know, to find out who your neighbors are, you know,” mother Amber Jones-Esquibel said. “It’s a really good community and I’m very grateful that we are involved.”

Building community and playing the beautiful game.

The league has had 60 to 65 kids out each Saturday this fall. They are still discussing what the future of the league will look like as well as possibilities for keeping the kids active during the winter.

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