Toronto FC’s First Team and Coaching Staff, along with 200 youth from
the KickStart program, were on hand as the MLSE Team Up Foundation and
Kia Canada Inc. kicked off a new soccer program aimed at kids aged 6 to
12 years on Tuesday. The event, held at the Kia Training Ground, Toronto
FC’s new practice facility, celebrated the announcement of the KickStart
program, as well as field enhancements that will take place later this
fall at Dentonia soccer pitch at Crescent Town – one of the pitches
hosting the program.
KickStart is a free six week program running in 10 Toronto Community
Housing communities across the city. The program will teach 200 kids
soccer skills, while also providing them with valuable self-esteem, fair
play and leadership lessons.
“Kids need opportunity, supportive leadership and deliberate practice.
The six-week KickStart program provides participants with these three
very important elements and highlights the importance of recreational
space,” said Bruce Kidd, chair, MLSE Team Up Foundation.
In addition to Dr. Kidd and the Toronto FC players and coaches, Robert
Staffieri, Director of Marketing, Kia Canada Inc. and Eugene Jones,
president and CEO, Toronto Community Housing Corporation were also in
attendance for Tuesday’s announcement.
“Drive Change is about making a positive difference in Canadian
communities by providing an opportunity for youth to develop their
skills while actively enjoying the sport with our long-time partners
Toronto FC and Team Up Foundation,” said Mr. Staffieri. “This is our
third consecutive year supporting with a pitch enhancement in the GTA,
and we are honoured to be able to positively impact local communities.”
The improvements to the pitch at Dentonia will include a new storage
shed, the installation of covered team benches and spectator seating as
well as mini goal posts to facilitate multiple teams practicing on one
pitch. This marks the third pitch in the past three years that the MLSE
Team Up Foundation has helped upgrade through its partnership with Kia.
“Programs like KickStart help make our communities more vibrant and
healthy by engaging youth through sport and leadership opportunities.
When everyone works together–residents, private partners, community
organizations and Toronto Community Housing–we can build safer
neighbourhoods and a better city.”