TAMPA, Fla. – With a rapidly growing staff and the addition of new departments, the United Soccer League has recently turned its focus to giving back to the Tampa community that it calls home.
So, recently a group of league staff – some of whom played competitively in college before turning to the business and operations side of the sport professionally – visited the Boys & Girls Club of Tampa Bay to hold a soccer camp for the youngsters spending part of their summer vacation at the soccer.
The kids were led in practice drills and small-sided games throughout the morning for what proved to be an entertaining experience for everyone involved.
“It was great seeing how happy it made the kids, and frankly seeing our guys – like [Super Y League Director of Operations] Jordan [Rouse] and [Youth League Growth & Development Manager] Dom [Colarusso] – seeing how well they do,” said USL Recruitment Coordinator Samantha Killilea, who led the initiative. “I see them in the office when they have their business hat on, and to see them take that off and get into this character with the kids was great.
“The kids had a great time, so I think personally when I left, I felt great. I knew they’d enjoyed it, I knew they wanted us to come back, and I know the Tampa Bay Boys & Girls Club really enjoyed having us too.”
Volunteers from numerous departments from the USL helped run the soccer clinic at the Boys & Girls Club of Tampa Bay in late July. | Photo courtesy United Soccer League
The idea for the program came from another of the areas sporting organizations, with the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers having had a longstanding relationship with the Boys & Girls Club. The success of the USL’s first proper venture into the community is likely to see the organization expand its scope as it looks to give back to local groups while helping the USL become better known around the area.
“We want to be involved in the community,” said Killilea. “Tampa has been a wonderful city for the USL to call its home for many years, and now it’s a great time for us to become more involved by volunteering our time to organizations like the Boys & Girls Club that can use our support. Every chance we can, we will.”