LION PLAYER PROFILE: Kevin Gonzalez & Alex Velasco
Kevin Gonzalez is a 20 year old Harlem resident and alum of FC Harlem. Kevin grew up playing pickup soccer in the local parks never intending to join a team. He heard about FC Harlem through his cousin in 2006 and got involved. Soon to graduate from high school Kevin was unsure about what he wanted to do. In October 2007 Kevin had a game changing experience through FC.
Harlem. A community service trip put together by Neel Shah and MLS Works brought Kevin and three other FC Harlem players to Guadalajara, Mexico.
“ Harlem2Guadalajara was a life changer for me. It opened my eyes to a new country, my people, my culture. Seeing the smiles on the kid’s faces at the orphanage where we arrived made me feel really appreciated. I also saw that there are those who have it worse than some of us in Harlem. The experience was surreal to me never would I thought soccer would give me the opportunity to travel the world” said Kevin.
While in Guadalajara, Kevin became intrigued with the film project of their trip. “This is where I had my first actual experience with the process of making a movie. From that day on my dream was to direct films. I was stunned and thrill after seeing the finish product.” Kevin found his passion. He enrolled in Borough of Manhattan Community College’s Video Arts and Technology program. He hopes to use film as a way to tell stories about community and family that can touch audiences around the world. FC Harlem salutes Kevin as a true Leader In Our Neighborhood (L.I.O.N).
Chelsea FC goes to Harlem
They asked some really good questions as well. They look at someone who has been in the game and wonder what they can do to have a chance. They obviously play a lot and even if they don't carry on playing the game in later life they are learning some good life principles.' http://goo.gl/0tjNm
Manchester United goes to Harlem
FC Harlem got a taste of what it is like to train like Rooney, Chicharito and Giggs as Manchester United Soccer School spent the day with them.
HARLEM2GUADALAJARA (FC HARLEM)
Harlem2Guadalajara, a community service trip sponsored by MLS, sends four players from FC Harlem to Mexico for three days. Harlem 2 Guadalajara
FC HARLEM NEW FIELD
In a first for New York City, a field for youth soccer was dedicated by leaders from soccer and civic life April 9, turning an asphalt playground at the Children's Aid Society Dunlevy/Milbank Center at 14-32 West 118th Street in Harlem into an oasis of green and lots of happy children from the FC Harlem Lions.
Irv Smalls, Executive Director of FC (for "football club") Harlem, said, "This great day was long time coming." His organization was founded in 1990 to bring "the world's game" to the youth of New York City and to make a positive difference in their lives.
In 2008, a gala sponsored by Major League Soccer WORKS, the community outreach arm of the league, and the US Soccer Foundation raised the funds for the field, but it did not come to fruition until the Children's Aid Society partnered with FC Harlem. "We at Children's Aid work to bridge the gap between what children have and what they need to succeed," said Richard R. Buery, President of the group, which was founded in 1853.
"This field is a testament to what you can do when good people come together." Don Garber, the Commissioner of Major League Soccer, said, "Irv Smalls wanted to give back to the community and we wanted to give back to the community where our league is based. We hope to do many more of these."
Ed Foster-Simeon, President of the US Soccer Foundation, said, "Soccer is the world's most popular game, connecting the young people who play it to positive outcomes in their lives. This is an oasis of green where children can play for years to come and develop lifelong friendships."
Daniel Rose, a board member of FC Harlem, said, "FC Harlem has a great future within its grasp, but to do so needs the help of all these good people."
Inez Dickens, the City Council Member representing Harlem, called it "a phenomenal day" for the neighborhood's children. "It opens an opportunity to learn another sport and it helps keep our kids off the streets."
"My little Harlem is exploding with energy," said Congressman Charles B. Rangel, who has represented the neighborhood since 1971. "What a great spot of green! I hope it is just the beginning of more fields like it." Rangel asked the young people on hand for the dedication, "Someday you will ask, 'What was it that turned your life around?' The answer may very well be FC Harlem and the Children's Aid Society." Also on hand for the opening were Glen Daley, founder of FC Harlem, and James Top, an artist who designed a massive mural along the west side of the field which was officially opened when two of the children kicked the first goals into the net.
FC Harlem – by Roj Rodriguez
FC Harlem Fifa Futbol Mundial Feature
13/12/2010 Program 291 Fifa Futbol Mundial follows Irv Smalls, Shamil Adamou, Kern Griffith, Christian Batista, through Harlem, exploring FC Harlem's impact in the community