Cincinnati Saints professional soccer team
2014 — Cincinnati Saints Soccer Team Brings the Sport to CPS Students
It started as an idea to promote a healthy lifestyle and teamwork by sharing a love of soccer.
It has resulted in dozens of 4th-, 5th- and 6th-grade girls on soccer fields at 17 Cincinnati Public Schools this fall under the supervision of 35 volunteer coaches. And that’s just the beginning.
For a bit of glamour and excitement, toss in on-field visits from members of the Cincinnati Saints professional soccer team.
A $27,000 grant from the Cincinnati Woman’s Club got the ball started.
“It’s a sport that doesn’t cost much to play. You just need a ball and a wall to kick it against,” says David Satterwhite, president and CEO of Cincinnati Saints.
Soccer “opened up a world of opportunity for me,” he adds, so he wants to share it with as many youngsters as possible.
“Part of learning soccer or any sport is being part of a team….kids love it because it is so active,” says Satterwhite.
The soccer practices are teaching discipline, exercise, how to work with a team, and how to work for what you want to accomplish — skills that Satterwhite hopes will benefit the girls in the future for jobs and life.
“The whole reason we are called ‘the Saints’ is our outreach program….we are giving back to the community,” Satterwhite adds.
Lady Saints team member Jackie Esterkamp, (pictured in left photo above) program manager for the CPS league, is on the field three or four times a week practicing with the students.
Brenda Newberry, program director at Activities Beyond the Classroom Foundation, says there will be a spring season for the program. ABC, which raises funds to support extracurricular activities in CPS, says the initial money was for a pilot program, but its success has them searching for additional funding. ABC’s mission is to provide the necessary support and offer opportunities at CPS schools to build leadership and teamwork skills necessary to succeed in life.
The 17 schools scattered throughout the district were able to organize teams and find volunteer coaches, but at least eight other schools expressed interest.
The volunteer coaches are a big part of the program’s success, says Newberry. Some are teachers or adult children of teachers, staff members or from nearby churches.
“The more connected the volunteers are to the school, the better,” says Newberry. “It’s the ‘village’ that we talk about.”