Players came from Stoughton, Canton, Randolph and Franklin to hone their soccer skills at Gillette.
The turf at Gillette Stadium was busy last Wednesday, but not with Tom Brady and company. Instead, youngsters from four southeastern Massachusetts communities got the chance to enhance their soccer skills—and they got to learn from the pros.
New England Revolution All-Stars Michael Parkhurst, James Riley, Khano Smith and Andy Dorman helped run a Comcast-sponsored two-hour soccer clinic on the Revolution and the Patriots’ home field.
“I think it’s amazing,” said Howard Finer, President of the Stoughton Youth Soccer Association. “The Revolution really does a lot with the local communities. The kids really understand it’s special.”
For the fourth year in a row, Comcast put together the event, which brought 100 young soccer players together to work on kicking, passing and scoring skills. Players came from Stoughton, Canton, Randolph and Franklin. While most of the players were between 10 and 12 years old, there were players as young as 7 out on the field and as old as 13.
“Comcast is excited to partner with the New England Revolution to provide 100 aspiring local youngsters the opportunity to receive professional soccer instruction from some of the sport’s best players,” stated Tom Coughlin, Vice President of Comcast’s Southeastern Massachusetts Region. “We hope these aspiring young soccer stars enjoy the memorable experience of learning from some of their favorite players.”
Comcast New England serves 2.6 million customers in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, Connecticut and New York, while employing nearly 7,000 people. The cable company is principally involved in the development, management and operation of broadband cable systems and in the delivery of programming content, according to press materials provided by Comcast.
“It’s a great way for the revolution to reach out to local towns,” said Tim Gibbs, whose Canton under-11 team was one of the groups to participate. “You don’t see this a lot in other professional sports.”
In the four years Comcast has held the clinic, players from all over southeastern Massachusetts have attended, said Rebecca Fracassa, who works in community relations for Comcast and who was largely in charge of putting the event together.“We try to spread the communities around,” Fracassa said.
Fracassa said the Revolution has rotated its players for the clinic but Parkhurst, who was named Major League Soccer’s 2005 rookie of the year and a Rhode Island native, has participated in previous year’s clinics.
During introductions with the Revolution players and the budding stars, Fracassa asked the group of kids how many of them were going to end up playing professional soccer just like their Revolution counterparts.All of the youngsters raised their hands high.
After talking a little about themselves, the Revolution stars split players into two groups and lead them through warm-up drills. Players were soon dribbling balls in and around each other as their professional counterparts managed the scene.
All the while, parents lined the sidelines snapping photos amid the late afternoon sunshine watching their children listen to instruction, practice their form and joke around with some of their idols.