Two lucky area youth soccer teams got a chance to learn tips from Union pros courtesy of Horizon Services.
In conjunction with Horizon Services, a key Philadelphia Union partner, Union goalkeeper Zac MacMath and midfielder Brian Carroll spent time with a pair of New Jersey based youth soccer teams and shed some knowledge on the game.
Up first, it was Carroll who spent time with the U-11 girls from Maple Shade FC. In addition to the meet and greet, the girls received a 90-minute training session, followed by a hour dinner complete with a chalk talk Q&A session and an autographed team ball.
The day was as informative as it was exciting.
"Brian was very personable and willing to autograph anything the girls asked him to, the girls were actually having him sign the cleats they wear," said Barbara Gee. Gee's son Chris, coaches the club. "The Q&A was great also; everyone had questions and was just an all-around good time, the team's parents were also very thankful...the dinner was great, and the autographed soccer balls were the icing on the cake."
Two weeks later, the U-8 boys from Cherry Hill FC Arsenal were greeted by goalkeeper Zac MacMath, who also took part in a 90-minute session and fielded questions from the group for an hour as well. And just like Carroll’s time spent, each player received a keepsake ball signed by the team.
"Zac did an awesome job interacting with the kids and practicing with them," said Cherry Hill assistant coach Marc Ferdas, whose son Ian scored on Zac during the session. "It was an experience that the boys will always remember. The chance to take shots on Zac were the highlight of the event. A couple were able to get one by him. Zac made fans for life. We greatly appreciate the generosity of the Union and Horizon. It was one of the highlights of our season."
In all four New Jersey based teams won a chance to have a day with a Union player. Additionally, there are teams still to be named from Pennsylvania and Delaware that along with the clubs from the Garden State entered a grand prize opportunity to have a 90-minute training session, a meet and greet, and lunch Q&A at PPL Park with a player or coach to be named – all of this courtesy of Horizon Services.
"At Horizon Services we genuinely believe that youth athletics are vital for keeping our children healthy and active and that’s why we love this promotion so much," said Horizon Services senior vice president Mark Aitken. "Imagine growing up and having the opportunity to not only meet, but also train alongside of some of your biggest sports idols. Our longstanding partnership with the Philadelphia Union allows us to bring this unbelievable experience to life for many local boys and girls who live and breathe the sport of soccer. Our biggest hope for the promotion is that it will continue inspire these youth athletes to continue to keep moving, practicing, and playing the sport they love so much so that one day we may recognize them on the world stage or even on the pitch at PPL Park."