About 30 young boys and girls came out to Manhattan’s Pier 40 on Thursday for a back-to-school soccer clinic hosted by the New York Cosmos and co-sponsored by Gotham Girls FC. Players got to kick-it with Cosmos defender John Neeskens, who won a national championship earlier this month.
“I love to be here and to enjoy the kids and…play with them, I feel so lucky,” said Neeskens, adding that the pageantry and enthusiasm of the kids was the same as when he began his soccer career. “I love it.”
Upon arriving at the field, players were split into groups and assigned a coach from the Cosmos Training and Development Program. According to Rafael Morffi, director of marketing for the Cosmos, the coaches come from backgrounds in college, high school, and youth soccer.
John Neeskens scrimmaging with the young soccer players
The clinic was open to anyone who registered, and players’ skill levels varied. According to 7-year-old Sophia from Manhattan, her favorite part was scrimmaging the other players, even though she didn’t “even know any positions in soccer.”
The Cosmos also hosted back-to-school clinics in Long Island and Brooklyn.
“We have paid camps too, which are more extensive and a longer duration,” said Morffi. “But this is a great evening out for the kids to get ready and fit before school.”
One of the coaches, Charley Marshall, is a program coordinator at House of Sports, a training facility located in Ardsley, where the Cosmos host soccer camps.
“It’s awesome. Kids come in and they play and we have a lot of fun. We train them through the Cosmos style,” Marshall said.
According to Marshall, House of Sports will be hosting a Cosmos Regional Development Center every Monday during the year for kids who are “adamant and passionate about soccer” and want to “add supplemental training” on top of what they are already receiving.
Lisa McLand, whose 5-year-old attended Thursday’s clinic, said, “So far [my daughter] seems to be having a lot of fun. And her coach seems to be great with the kids…I would definitely do it again.”