facebook twitter rss contact us


Akil Howard, FC Harlem Alumni 2010 -11 was recently crowned 2013 Big Ten Champions along with his Penn State Nittany Lions teammates.  Akil plays defender for the Men’s soccer team and is the son of Neil Howard, FC Harlem’s Head of Coaching. Akil’s Nittany Lions are ranked in top 10 on the NCAA Men’s Division I soccer poll. Akil is considered one of the top 20 players in the Big Ten.  Akil graduates in December 2013 with a dual degree in Psychology and African Studies.  Upon graduation Akil hopes to get the opportunity to play in Major League Soccer



Related: Penn State Athletics feature on Akil Howard

"It was late summer of 2011, and everything was going well for Howard as he settled in at Penn State, his third academic institution since graduating high school. Prior to training with the Nittany Lions, all he needed was a sports physical exam, a simple and routine matter.

This one wasn't very simple or routine."

Read full article 


FC Harlem Staff Profile: Coach Anders Khan U19

Coach Anders Khan and assistants Matt Nevin and Rodley Ferguson lead the U19 team to their second consecutive winning season in the Cosmopolitan Junior Soccer League (CJSL) this past Spring.

The team finished the season 7-3.  Coach Anders a former standout player at Mercy College and captain at Manhattan Soccer Club joined FC Harlem in 2011. “ I was playing soccer one Saturday in Harlem and met Irv as they were setting up for Fall Rec League.  We chatted for a bit and he expressed interest in getting me involved with the competitive teams.” Anders recalls.

Coach Anders tough love no nonsense approach immediately yielded results. Coach Anders took a team that was 2-8 the previous season to 5-5 in 2011 and 6-4 in 2012. This success did not go unnoticed by Executive Director Irv Smalls.  “I was excited to have Coach Anders be a part of FC Harlem.  As someone who lives in the community he was more than aware of what challenges these young men may face off the field so he knew that to achieve success he needed to first get them to bond as a team, a family, a community.” The bonding occurred off the field as well as the players performed over 100 community service hours through FC Harlem and the community. 2014 U19 Spring Tryouts begin in November.



The Chelsea Football Club Foundation and FC Harlem today (Wednesday) announced a partnership to develop community initiatives for young people in New York.

The Young L.I.O.N.S (Leaders In Our Neighbourhoods) initiative will develop exciting opportunities for young people, providing positive activities and developing social and leadership skills.

The two organisations have previously collaborated during Chelsea's visits to New York in the summer of 2012 and the spring of 2013, and Foundation and FC Harlem coaches have been exchanging ideas and developing the programme throughout this time.

The partnership is an extension of our Here to Play, Here to Stay initiative which is dedicated to building education and soccer training platforms for children around the world. The Chelsea Under-21 squad joined FC Harlem for several events in their neighbourhood this week.

Activities included a visit to the world-famous Apollo theatre, a meal at Red Rooster to meet celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson and a training session at FC Harlem's home pitch to officially launch the community partnership.


'We are delighted to partner with FC Harlem, one of the leading community clubs in the United States,' said Chelsea Chief Executive Ron Gourlay.

'The partnership highlights the importance of football in developing individuals and their communities, which is something we are passionately committed to. Both Chelsea and FC Harlem share a belief that we can use sport to make a real difference. Our Academy squad's visit to New York created an ideal opportunity to announce our new partnership.'

Founded in 1990 as Harlem Youth Soccer Association (HYSA), the FC Harlem programme offers children a safe place to play, right in the heart of Harlem. More than 1,000 children participate annually in after-school soccer programmes, beginner clinics and competitive travel teams.

'We look forward to this new partnership with the Chelsea FC Foundation,' said FC Harlem Executive Director Irv Smalls.

'Harlem is historically one of the most recognised and culturally significant inner city neighbourhoods in the world. Chelsea is one of the top football clubs in the world, however it is their commitment off the pitch in communities like Harlem and our shared belief that soccer can be used to strengthen communities and develop leaders that has brought us together for this groundbreaking partnership.'

The Foundation is an integral part of Chelsea's vision of excellence on the pitch mirrored by groundbreaking work in our communities. The Foundation believes the power of football can bring about positive changes in people's lives and their communities, address inequalities in society and boost health and fitness.

As well as offering outstanding football development programmes, the Chelsea Foundation works on a broad range of initiatives focusing on employment, education, social inclusion, crime reduction and tackling youth offending.

The Chelsea first team will visit the United States in early August to take part in the International Champions Cup at the Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis(1 August), the MetLife Stadium in New Jersey (4 August) and the Sun Life Stadium in Miami (date TBD) to wrap-up our pre-season preparations.

Fans interested in additional information on the clubs and the new partnership are invited to follow Chelsea onTwitter at @ChelseaFC and FC Harlem at @FCHarlem.


Kicking & Screening Fundraiser

In partnership with the Kicking & Screening Film Festival, FC Harlem hosted a CONCACAF Gold Cup viewing party and fundraiser on June 11, 2013. Many key FC Harlem stakeholders came out to support the biggest fundraising event so far this year.

The event was held at the Three Monkeys Bar on W. 54th Street. Plenty of great prizes were raffled off, such as brand new FC Harlem gear, tickets to several MLS games, signed jerseys, and more. By the end of the night, over $6,500 was raised, to be used for FC Harlem operations and academic enrichment programs.

“Board members collectively were able to gather great auction items for the event, generate buzz and get a strong turnout to support FC Harlem and promote the upcoming Kicking+Screening Film Festival.” said Michael Rueda, an FC Harlem Board Member.

The viewing party also featured the first public release of the official trailer for the The Lions of Harlem, an upcoming documentary chronicling several FC Harlem players on and off the soccer pitch.

“The event was a huge success, and it was fantastic to see so many people come out and support FC Harlem,” said Lee.  “The Junior Board will work hard to make these social fundraisers a regular fixture on the FC Harlem calendar.”





Chelsea players including Petr CechDemba Ba and David Luiz joined Foundation coaches and youngsters from local club FC Harlem for a coaching clinic in New York on Friday.
Also attending were Nathan Ake, Jamal Blackman, Andreas Christensen and Ruben Loftus-Cheek, at the facility in west Harlem visited by former Blue Graeme Le Saux on our tour last summer.



The pitch, an artificial surface suitable for small-sided games which is located near the Hudson River and below one of this part of Manhattan's iconic, raised railway lines, was converted from a parking lot, and is one of two FC Harlem use. Their executive director Irv Smalls was delighted to welcome Chelsea stars to the coaching clinic.

'Today was an amazing day with Chelsea Football Club here,' he said. 'We wanted to see how we could use football to have a positive effect on the community.

'Having a club like Chelsea here, having the players and the coaches, is really important because it helps the children feel a part of something big.

'This is our training field to develop kids, not just on the field but off it as well. We do enrichment programmes which focus on academic support, leadership skills, career development and all-round healthy living.

'Having a top club like Chelsea come here and showing those values helps cement things in the minds of the children.'

Cech, who like his team-mates spent time playing games and signing autographs with the 25 kids, spoke of his pride to be involved in the visit.

'We are all delighted to come and meet kids at a fantastic project like this,' he said. 'The club takes very serious our work in the community and it is an important part of when we travel to different parts of the world. FC Harlem helps bring the spirit of football into this community which is great.'

Originally founded in 1990 as Harlem Youth Soccer Association (HYSA), the FC Harlem program offers kids a safe place to play the beautiful game, right in the heart of Harlem. More than 1,000 children participate annually in after-school soccer programmes, beginner clinics and competitive travel teams.


Chelsea continues to build upon our 'Here to Play, Here to Stay' ethos by leaving lasting legacies in places we visit.

All year round we are active in the US via our Super Clubs programmes in Baltimore, Phoenix, Dallas and Atlanta, and we look forward to continuing our work with FC Harlem in New York. 


Article from www.chelseafc.com




This past April members of the FC Harlem travel team were treated to an exciting, educational and eye opening visit to Google Corporate office in NYC.  Tony Watkins, Googler ( term for employee of Google) and FC Harlem volunteer arranged the visit to what is considered one of the most desirable companies to work for.

Tony and his Google colleagues took FC Harlem players and staff on a tour of the unique NYC offices and setup a Q& A session. In addition to being amazed by a cool interior design, googlers whizzing by on scooters and the gigantic game room, FC Harlem players had an opportunity to participate in an international video conference with googlers in Canada and got to see up close a pair of Google glasses.   “The google glasses were amazing!!” said Armando Larios. U19 player John Estrada headed to Syracuse University in the Fall commented on how many of the staff he met that had English degrees. “I was thinking if you worked here you needed a degree in computer science, math and engineering which I am sure many do but the staff explained that they hire people with a wide range of backgrounds.” The players ended the tour with a photo next to the Google sign and a view of the city from the rooftop.



Phil Babb (center black adidas hoodie) poses with players and coaches of FC Harlem U19 Team


WEST HARLEM- On a  blustery Saturday morning in March, FC Harlem U19 players and staff were treated to a training session by former Liverpool and Republic of Ireland National  Team player, Phil Babb.

Phil spent six years at Liverpool and at time was the most expensive centerback in the EPL. In addition to Liverpool he played for Sunderland and Sporting Lisbon in Portugal. As a member of the Republic of Ireland National Team he had 35 caps including four matches in the 1994 World Cup. Phil works as a FIFA licensed agent 

Phil provided the FC Harlem coaches with training tips and drills they can implement in training sessions with the players.  The players used the opportunity to ask Phil about playing at the highest level in the EPL and the World Cup.

" You have to be ready to make the sacrfice and commitment to pursue your dream... You need to work hard on and off the field" Phil advised the players.

Phil finished up the session with individual and group photos with staff and players.







FC Harlem's U12 Team poses with the club's first trophy in tournament play.


EAST HARLEM- On a beautiful Fall weekend in September the FC Harlem Lions U12 finished 3rd place in the FILSA Soccer League.  The tournament which began in April and finished the last week in September featured over 12 teams playing  7v7 format.  All games were played  with referees on Saturday mornings/afternoons at Thomas Jefferson Field and Wagner Field in East Harlem.

The team was lead by Coach Marcoantonio Melendez.  The team was excited about placing in the tournament.  Players said Coach Marco trained them three times a week and helped them get better and play as a team.

In the final game which came down to penalities Forward Barry Alseny hit the penalty that put FC Harlem up then FC Harlem goalie Sal Melendez stepped up calmly and blocked the opponent's shot giving the LIONS a well deserved and hard fought 3rd place finish.

Check out some photos from the season at the bottom.

Congrats on a great season!!


#7Barry Alsney | #4 Jack Bravo | #15 Richard Flores | #8 Karla Garcia | #Goalie Saul Melendez                               #16 Thilo Widder | #12 Luis Vazquez  |  #3 Joaquin Vidal | Coach Marco Melendez

Sal Melendez blocks penalty for the FC HARLEM win!!

Barry Alsney hits the winning penalty!

Thilo Widder keeps the ball in play for the LIONS.


Pep talk before a match.


Barry gets a nice strike on the ball!


Lions appaulding the champions.







Harlem and Milan. With the handshake between Massimo Ambrosini and Irv Smalls, Executive Director   of the youth football project in Harlem, the Rossoneri donated 600 footballs to FC Harlem. 


MILAN – At their visit to the New York adidas store, Milan donated 600 footballs to FC Harlem, a football association that aims to help youth in the quarter. 

Present at the adidas store was FC Harlem executive director Irv Smalls. Having a victorious past in sport – Smalls won the prestigious Rose Bowl Game in 1995 with Nittany Lions – he is convinced that football, even if not the American variety, can bring the youth together rather than dividing them. 

FC Harlem was founded in 1990 and believes in the positive potential of children and the strength of football to bring this potential to light, helping children’s development on their path to becoming successful adults.

And it is thanks to initiatives like FC Harlem, encouraged by the gesture from Milan, that Harlem has changed face since the mid-90s – and continues to change for the better.







Rafa Marquez and New York Red Bulls Host Clinic with FC Harlem Rafa Marquez and the Red Bulls hosted a clinic with FC Harlem Tuesday at Riverside Park

Rafa Marquez and the New York Red Bulls, in conjunction with The Rafa Marquez Foundation, hosted a clinic with FC Harlem Tuesday afternoon at Manhattan's Riverside Park.

Roughly 25 young athletes, ranging in age from eight to 10 years old, participated in the one-of-a-kind clinic as participants ran through a series of drills ranging from dribbling, defending, ball control and one-on-one tactical work.

Marquez, currently rehabbing a calf injury, has always been a strong believer in lending a hand in the community whenever he can.

"I'm happy to be here and be able to spend some great time with the kids of FC Harlem who have lent us their facilities to be able to hold the clinic," Marquez said.

Irv Smalls, executive director of FC Harlem, was excited for the community and the young athletes who had the opportunity to once again team up with the Red Bulls, just as they did last season.

"We definitely know the younger kids and the parents appreciate it," Smalls said, "but I think even for our older kids it's really important because we're showing the players that they're not just players on the field, but they spend time giving back."

The New York Red Bulls will support the Rafa Marquez Foundation with a special promotion for the August 19th match against Portland. For every ticket purchased through this special promo code, four dollars will be donated to The Rafa Marquez Foundation. In addition, there will be a silent auction as each of the Red Bulls' players will donate the shirts off their back on the day of the event.

Marquez will be donating items from his career with FC Barcelona, Atlas and the Mexican National team. These items will be auctioned on the day of the event as well.

Additional information will be available at a later date. Details of the actual merchandise up for auction will be shared on the official Twitter account of Rafa Marquez: @RafaMarquezMX.