Philadelphia Union welcomed Crystal Palace of the English Premier League last week. But, before the clubs squared off in a friendly at Talen Energy Stadium, they took time out of their schedules to host a soccer clinic at the Boys and Girls Club of Chester.
After last Tuesday's training session, representatives from both teams visited the Boys and Girls Club, spending some time with local youth, answering questions and sharing their experience as professional soccer players before joining the kids in a kick-around with miniature goals.
Crystal Palace’s Joel Ward, Jason Puncheon and Sullay Kaikai joined forces with Philadelphia’s Ray Gaddis and Cole Missimo. After the activities were over, all five athletes stayed to signed autographs.
“To have the opportunity to teach kids about our game is always great,” Missimo said. “For us to team up with a club like Crystal Palace is something very few get a chance to do. I’m very happy to have been a part of this event with the Boys and Girls Club.”
The event had roughly 90 kids in attendance, in addition to multiple employees from the Philadelphia Union, Philadelphia 76ers, Crystal Palace and the Boys and Girls Club of Chester. Food for the event was donated from Chester’s Fare and Square Market – a fellow partner of the Philadelphia Union Foundation.
Local TV affiliates from ABC and CBS, as well as multiple news agencies showed up to document the clinic, in which all 90-plus kids left with merchandise from each team, including a 2016 Crystal Palace T-shirt.
The Boys and Girls Club has been an excellent community partner with Philadelphia Union. The club has worked with them through programs such as Soccer For Success, Toy Donations, Corporate Partner Clinics and more.