Toronto FC’s First Team and Coaching Staff, along with 200 youth from the KickStart program, were on hand as the MLSE Team Up Foundation and Kia Canada Inc. kicked off a new soccer program aimed at kids aged 6 to 12 years on Tuesday. The event, held at the Kia Training Ground, Toronto FC’s new practice facility, celebrated the announcement of the KickStart program, as well as field enhancements that will take place later this fall at Dentonia soccer pitch at Crescent Town - one of the pitches hosting the program.
KickStart is a free six week program running in 10 Toronto Community Housing communities across the city. The program will teach 200 kids soccer skills, while also providing them with valuable self-esteem, fair play and leadership lessons.
"Kids need opportunity, supportive leadership and deliberate practice. The six-week KickStart program provides participants with these three very important elements and highlights the importance of recreational space," said Bruce Kidd, chair, MLSE Team Up Foundation.
In addition to Dr. Kidd and the Toronto FC players and coaches, Robert Staffieri, Director of Marketing, Kia Canada Inc. and Eugene Jones, president and CEO, Toronto Community Housing Corporation were also in attendance for Tuesday’s announcement.
"Drive Change is about making a positive difference in Canadian communities by providing an opportunity for youth to develop their skills while actively enjoying the sport with our long-time partners Toronto FC and Team Up Foundation," said Mr. Staffieri. "This is our third consecutive year supporting with a pitch enhancement in the GTA, and we are honoured to be able to positively impact local communities."
The improvements to the pitch at Dentonia will include a new storage shed, the installation of covered team benches and spectator seating as well as mini goal posts to facilitate multiple teams practicing on one pitch. This marks the third pitch in the past three years that the MLSE Team Up Foundation has helped upgrade through its partnership with Kia. "Programs like KickStart help make our communities more vibrant and healthy by engaging youth through sport and leadership opportunities. When everyone works together--residents, private partners, community organizations and Toronto Community Housing--we can build safer neighbourhoods and a better city."
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