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U.S. Soccer Foundation at Work: Soccer Flowers in Rochester, N.Y.

CHICAGO (Monday, May 7, 2001) -
Playing in gymnasiums during the winter and on school fields in the spring and summertime, hundreds of inner-city kids in Rochester, N.Y. are learning about the thrills of soccer, and keeping their academics up at the same time. The Flower City Soccer League, which received a modest 2000 U.S. Soccer Foundation grant, grew from two men who had played soccer in their youth and who simply wanted to start a league to help young people in Rochester. The league now runs a four-month summer season and an equally energetic winter session indoors, serving as many as 500 youngsters at a time. During the 2000-2001 winter indoor season, Flower City boasted 31 teams of 12 kids each. The Flower City Soccer League recruits many of its young athletes from community recreation and support centers and via the Rochester municipal recreation department. Also enjoying a good rapport with the city school system, which helps with playing areas, Flower City makes sure that teachers and mentors vouch for the academic progress of each of the youngsters before they start to play. The mix of soccer and academics is paying off for the young people of Rochester.