Kickers midfielder Fred Owusu Sekyere signs a ball for a young fan. | Photo courtesy Jessica Stone Hendricks / Richmond Kickers
RICHMOND, Va. – On Monday, the Richmond Kickers announced a partnership with local non-profit First Touch Sports that is designed to strengthen soccer programming in Richmond’s underserved communities.
First Touch Sports, which was co-founded by David and Sarah Glass in 2011, currently operates after-school soccer programs at seven Title 1 elementary schools in Chesterfield County and provides opportunities with recreational and travel teams for players from low-income families as well as a High School Summer League and summer training for elementary and middle school students.
The Kickers will provide the organization with marketing and sponsorship support, licensed uniforms, competitive scheduling for recreational teams and a pathway into the Kickers’ travel program.
“[First Touch Sports is] a great way to maybe initially have contact with kids to get them involved, but we want to place kids appropriately to their level of commitment and skill,” said David Glass.
Glass believes the partnership, which has already begun to place some of First Touch Sports’ top talents onto Richmond United Development Academy teams, is a mutually beneficial one as the non-profit gets higher-level coaching and additional opportunities for its participants while the club continues to make an impact in its community while also unearthing promising young players.
Photo courtesy Jessica Stone Hendricks / Richmond Kickers
“Being able to reach a large and really ever-growing population of soccer-loving kids I think positions the Kickers well in the future because clubs all across the country are going to have to figure out how to connect with and get more of the lower socioeconomic kids involved in soccer,” Glass said.
The Kickers have already made strides to make soccer accessible to everyone in the community as demonstrated by the club’s cost-free RVAccess program, which provides soccer for children with special needs. The team also conducts soccer clinics and makes various appearances throughout the Richmond area.
Through this new partnership, the club is aiming to broaden its reach across the local community overall and help First Touch Sports reach the potential the program clearly possesses.
“The Richmond Kickers have always strived to be a community partner that provides inspirational programming for our entire community,” said Leigh Cowlishaw, Richmond Kickers Director of Soccer. “First Touch Sports is a wonderful community outreach initiative and is truly making a positive impact. We look forward to working with David to enhance his vision and further develop the holistic programming that brings soccer and positive life skills to underserved neighborhoods.”