July 10, 2019 08:50 PM
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) -- The mayor and other city leaders cut the ribbon on the new Troup Street Park soccer field Wednesday.
Neighbors hope the new field will be more than just a new place to play, but also serve as a tool to reduce crime and violence.
"There have been crimes over here. I seen it myself," said community volunteer Abdi Abdikadir, who lives near the park. "I've seen gunshots right on this street here. But it's been a while."
In the past, Abdikadir says he's seen people come to the Troup Street Park to start trouble. Now, he sees people come to either watch soccer or to find out how they can play.
Hamadi Muya who lives nearby and coaches the Young Tigers soccer team says he knows the impact soccer can have on a kid. He's seen it over the 15 years he's been coaching in the U.S. And he too has seen a difference in the neighborhood.
"Soccer can take care of a lot of things," said Muya. "It starts with this. If we can start at this age we almost can see their path going forward."
That's part of the reason the city is investing in the parks and more importantly, play.
"It's not just about the sports...it's about a holistic approach to making sure that our children get the support that they need to go on and be successful," said Mayor Lovely Warren.
Nicole Hercules is the CEO of the Rochester City Soccer League. Right now, she says 600 kids are enrolled in the city program and that number is growing daily.
"Having fields in everybody's backyard...these kids are great kids who do well in school, who just want a safe place to play...this is so important," expressed Hercules.
She says she's had two valedictorians and School #58 has won four state championships.
"Soccer is the world's game," said Hercules. "When we talk about bringing people together you see again we have people from all walks of life, different religions, different races, different creeds...soccer is a game that unites. You don't have to speak the same language. All you need is a soccer ball. These people come together. We're a family."
She says you can see first-hand the benefits of the city soccer program by coming to the soccer stadium on Friday night.
Updated: July 10, 2019 08:50 PM
Created: July 10, 2019 07:26 PM
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