Ricardo Clark: Teaching life skills through soccer

by Soccer in the Streets

The fall of 2010 was a great season for Soccer in the Streets at McLendon Elementary.  We have been able to build on the progress we have made so far, and plant the seeds for even more growth this spring!

25 kids out of the 100 registered were able to play organized league soccer in addition to the afterschool program.  They played in the Decatur-DeKalb YMCA league thanks to the support of the DDY.  Principal Lloyd McFarlane has been great, he coaches the team in the league and has been actively involved in growing the program and using soccer to benefit his students.

More than anything, this response from a parent shows how effective this program has been...

“I have to stay at that school [McLendon] just so that he can play soccer.  I’ve been thinking of moving out of that area, but I’m staying at that school just because of soccer.  It’s boosted up his self-esteem, and he’s just excited about the game.  He’s learned what soccer is all about, the games, the rules, I think it’s done a lot for him, really, overall.  Before [PCS] he was very quiet, kind of withdrawn, kind of passive and things like that.  Now, he’s more outwardly talking, expressing himself about the game with his team leaders, and I think its disciplined him a little bit more too, because he’s learning a little bit more about following the rules with a team, but I think that’s helped him with other discipline, you know, with discipline at home around other areas…. [before PCS] he was more, with his self-esteem, he was kind of quiet, and didn’t have the, really, confidence he needed; he’s a very smart guy, and he’s good in school, he’s got A’s and B’s, but he was never outwardly talking about his grades or how he was doing in school, but since he’s been on the team and they’ve been winning, he’s always been saying ‘Mama, we’re the best in Georgia, we’re going to win the championship!,” and all of that, he’s just been very excited about being a part of something [PCS] I think is really good for the community, I really do, I think it’s really good.” 


We have just begun year two at McLendon Elementary School. Our partnership with the local YMCA has been expanded and we are now able to offer teams to both 3rd and 4th grade students. Also, many girls are participating on existing girls' teams. Overall, nearly half of the students in the program are participating in organized soccer outside of school.

The program is now for 2nd-5th grade students. We have capped enrollment at 100 students this year, and have over thirty more students on a waiting list. Two teachers are actively involved in the afterschool program, along with the school's principal. All of our full time staff take part in implementing the program, along with volunteers and interns.

We're excited to see the progress in the students during the 1st half of the school year and will report back. Thanks so much for your support of our program!

We completed our first school year at McLendon Elementary School in Decatur, GA. It has been a tremendous experience!

The support from the school has been outstanding. One of the teachers has truly taken ownership of the program and is helping with all administrative duties. He's even coaching a team of 3rd graders from the program in a local soccer league! The school principal has even gotten directly involved, helping out as a coach. Anything we've needed, the school has helped us!

The kids have really learned from being a part of the program. Discipline problems decreased as the school year went on. The kids loved to play and would do whatever was asked in order to be able to play soccer. Thanks to a partnership with a local YMCA, we were able to form a U10 team that played in the YMCA league for free. We're hoping to expand this next year.

We all can't wait for the next school year to begin!



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Organization Information

Soccer in the Streets

Location: Atlanta, GA - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.soccerstreets.org
Project Leader:
Jason Longshore
Deputy Director
Atlanta, Georgia United States

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