More than 3,000 kids between the ages of 7-14 will participate in Upper Room after-school and summer programs at Swope Soccer Village, Sporting Club announced on Tuesday. The local non-profit organization works closely with youth groups in the Swope Park Corridor and adjoining areas of the city by providing high-quality out-of-school education and extracurricular programs to low-income families in Kansas City.
“We are excited to have our kids experience these soccer fields,” said Jerry McEvoy, Upper Room Executive Director. “When we started our soccer program, we had about 1,100 kids a week enjoying soccer camp. We’ve grown to over 3,000 kids and now have wonderful fields for the kids to play on.”
Upper Room began offering soccer programming nine years ago through Kansas City native Shane Hackett and Heartland Soccer Association, one of the largest youth soccer organizations in the United States. Wednesday will mark the first time in program history to utilize Swope Soccer Village for the camps, which are conducted free of charge to all families.
“For most of the kids, this is their first exposure to soccer,” Hackett said. “I’m happy we can play a part. People like to get involved in programs where they can make a real difference.”
Located at 63rd and Lewis Road in Kansas City, Missouri’s Swope Park, the state-of-the-art Swope Soccer Village now features nine full-size soccer fields – three natural grass and six synthetic turf – as part of a $15.5 million expansion. Home to MLS Cup champions Sporting Kansas City since 2007, the facility has also attracted marquee events such as the Big 12 Soccer Championship as well as the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Soccer Championships for Division II (2016-17) and Division III (2014-15).
“It was always a passion of ours to create a world-class facility that is not only great for soccer players to learn and play the game, but also provides a safe and welcoming place for use by the surrounding neighborhood,” said David Ficklin, Sporting Club Vice President of Development. “As neighbors in the Swope Park area, we look forward to hosting Upper Room families and seeing the program continue to grow.”
Upper Room opened in 1999 and offers a variety of activities and enriching experiences for students in over 25 locations across the city. The soccer curriculum provides highly qualified coaches to teach basic skills of the sport through enjoyable exercises.
For more information, visit www.upperroomprogram.org.