York County "Soccer With Attitude" Program Flourishes
Apr 2, 2001
CHICAGO (Monday, April 2, 2001)
The kids provide the attitude, and now, thanks in part to a grant from the U. S. Soccer Foundation, hundreds of them enjoy soccer and positive development programs through the YMCA of York (Pa.) and York County. The Soccer With Attitude Training (SWAT) model at the Y serves between 200 and 250 young people each fall and spring, fielding teams ranging from Under-8 to a coed Under-17 squad. "We play our games in the York County League, a USSF-sanctioned league," says Craig Wolfe, who guided the program's growth, "and this year for the first time we have our own field to play on. We have had wonderful collaboration with the City of York to make all this happen."
The program, which primarily serves the minority communities of York, also includes a significant drug and alcohol prevention program that not only targets the young people but that also involves the parents. "The parental participation is outstanding," says Wolfe, "and from that we have increased our volunteer base so much that we can now play home games and have them properly staffed." At one point in the last year, the SWAT program was a mini-United Nations, with participants representing 14 different nationalities. The SWAT program is also a feeder program to other YMCA action programs such as the Team Leaders group, the Youth in Government program and a mountain biking program, all exposing the young people to positive reinforcement and providing an opportunity for them to expand their horizons.