SCORE Kicks Off with the Trojan Youth Soccer League
Oct. 23, 2013
On Saturday morning, as the Trojan Youth Soccer League hosted their weekly games, 80 participating kids were pleasantly surprised when the USC women's soccer team showed up with popsicles and words of encouragement. The eight teams of local children ranging from ages 7-10 gave their all in front of an audience of volunteer coaches, supporting parents, and student-athletes at the Hoover Recreation Center.
Fueled by a desire to include USC's surrounding community as members of the Trojan family, undergraduate student Hadley Greswold began the Trojan Youth Soccer League, a place where students could interact with local children in community. TYSL has become a community bridge where parents, students, athletes and coaches can come together in a partnership for positive growth. "I knew that if we could unite our diverse community, we would not only foster protection, but create strong ties between members," said club president Hadley Greswold.
Women's Soccer Head Coach Ali Khosroshahin has supported TYSL from the moment he heard about the program. To help the cause, Khosroshahin rallied his team as another set of mentors for the kids through the Community Outreach Program's new SCORE Initiative.
At least one USC soccer athlete attends every single TYSL practice as a guest coach. The eight teams of TYSL meet twice each week, with the student-athletes supplementing each session through a "Trojan Pep Talk." These brief sessions highlight different teaching points each practice. Over the course of the season, teams have discussed academics, the importance of college, nutrition, teamwork, fitness, and community responsibility.
With USC athletes on board, TYSL is able to achieve its goal of uniting the University with its neighbors. "Within the league, there is no 'us and them,' there are only coaches and players, proud parents and excited supporters. Watching an invisible barrier dissolve through the league has been incredibly fulfilling," said Greswold.
The women's soccer team will continue to support TYSL at practices and games throughout the semester. The team serves as model mentors for the new SCORE Initiative, which aims to deliver positive messages to local kids via student-athletes. With help from its sponsors, TYSL hopes to expand the reach of the program in the spring, further engaging the community and connecting soccer with academics for years to come.
"When I think about the league, I do not see one group of people giving charity to another. Instead, I see every individual, whether they be a coach, parent, supporter, or player, bringing their own gift and optimism to the table. We are one community, we are one family, and we are unstoppable," said Greswold.