Dakota Foundation Presents Free Soccer for 300 Local Kids in Spring, Fall
Program Supported by Olympic City USA, Schuck Foundation and Children’s Hospital Colorado
For the second straight year, at least 300 local kids will have the opportunity to play soccer free of charge in the spring and fall seasons, thanks to a program created by Olympic City USA and funded by a generous grant from the Dakota Foundation and support from Children’s Hospital Colorado and the Shuck Foundation. The program waives the registration fee for the first 300 kids to register in Pre-K through second grade soccer with the City of Colorado Springs Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Department. Free spots are available at parks throughout the city, with the most remaining free spots available in the southeast and central regions.
“In Olympic City USA, we recognize the positive impact that youth sports can have on kids, which will last through their lifetime,” said Janet Suthers, Chair of the Olympic City USA Task Force. “This opportunity should not be limited by the ability to pay a fee, and this program eliminates that barrier. We are so grateful that the Dakota Foundation was able to fund this program through 2022, and we look forward to expanding it to reach more kids across more age groups.”
"The Dakota Foundation is delighted to support the worthy efforts of Olympic City USA to uplift our city's youth through sport,” said Kelsey Nolan, executive director of the Dakota Foundation. “We believe strongly in the mental and physical benefits that team sports have for children, and hope that by removing the cost, more kids can participate this year."
“The past two years have been tremendously difficult on children, both mentally and physically,” said Greg Raymond, President of Children’s Hospital Colorado’s Southern Region. “Our goal is to help keep kids healthy and out of our hospital, and participating in sports is proven to help both their mental and physical well-being. That is why we are so proud to be able to support this initiative for kids in our community.”
Spring soccer registration opened on January 3, and the program will continue in the fall. The City expects to make available an increasing number of free spots as funding and availability of volunteer coaches grow. New programming is now being offered at Meadows Park and Hillside Community Centers. There are no income or other eligibility requirements for children in the selected age groups. The program is open to everyone.
“The ultimate dream for this program, would be to provide free sports registration for kids of all ages, without limitation,” said Janet Suthers. “We are taking an incremental approach and ensuring we have enough funding and enough coaches to support all these kids, and we are excited to see where this program goes.”
Coaches are asked to commit 10 hours per month, and will be provided all equipment and training. Soccer expertise is not required to be a volunteer coach.