On a bench overlooking the soccer field in South Miami Park, 4300 SW 58 Ave. an interview takes place about the South Miami Grey Ghosts Soccer Club. President Javier Rodriguez speaks about the Club’s fundamental mission to create opportunities for youth to connect to others, to realize their talents at all skill levels, and to contribute to the community.
“Team sports and athletics are great for kids. Through it they develop skills, understand the nature of teamwork, and learn the importance of giving back to the community,” said Rodriguez.
Most certainly a team sport, soccer has been around in one form or another for thousands of years. Modern soccer consists of two teams of 11 players each on a rectangular field with net goals at either end. Success relies on the players’ ability to handle the ball (without using their hands or arms) and how well they can move the ball down the field (using their feet, legs and sometimes, head). Popular throughout the world, the sport of soccer does not require much more than a ball, an open field, and willing participants. And it is an equal opportunity pursuit—both boys and girls can excel on the playing field.
The South Miami Grey Ghosts Soccer Club offers both recreational soccer and travel soccer to local youth.
Recreational soccer (ages 4-10 years) is defined by the rules of US Youth Soccer as an intra-club league that accepts any eligible youth. A balanced distribution of playing talent must exist among all teams and each player must play at least one-half of each game except for reasons of injury, illness or discipline.
Travel soccer (ages 9-18 years) is a more competitive soccer experience that allows players the ability to play at a higher level against teams from other towns. In travel soccer players are selected to be on a team through tryouts or a selection process.
One of the many ways in which the Club fulfills its mission to “give back” to the community is through its scholarship program for youth in South Miami. Eligible participants receive scholarships that cover the cost of transportation, soccer equipment and uniforms, and coaching twice per week at South Miami Park. Another is the February “Kickback” Initiative that involves collecting soccer equipment such as cleats, uniforms shorts, shirts, running shoes, socks and soccer balls for children in need in South Miami.
The Club participates in the Back to School drive at the Community Center, turkey donation at Thanksgiving, and the holiday toy drive in December. They have collaborated on events with the University of Miami and walked to raise funds to support the Down Syndrome Association.
The Club has a three-year contract with the city to operate the soccer program and relies on volunteers for its staffing and coaching. They invite corporate and private sponsorships to help them grow the program to accommodate more youth in the club and to help with improvements to the city’s park. Currently, they are working to add grant awards to their funding resources.
For more information, visit the Club at www.smggsc.teampages.com or call Javier Rodriguez at 305-915-9377.