WED, AUG. 15, Glen Burnie, MD – The Maryland State Youth Soccer Association is proud to grant the first annual MSYSA Grassroots Futures Award to the Ellicott City Soccer Club (CiTY) for their excellence in grassroots programming.
CiTY Executive Director Tim Ryerson had a vision. That vision came to life in the spring of 2018, when CiTY launched their Get On the Bus (GOTB) program in an effort to remove the economic and transportation barriers that prevent some children from low-income Howard County families from participating in youth soccer. 41 players qualified for and participated in the program’s inaugural season.
A day in the program runs as follows: at the end of the school day, GOTB players are met at their school by CiTY staff and given a healthy snack. Tutoring and homework help is available to all participants. Afterwards, they are transported by bus to fields to participate in the CiTY recreational program. The kids practice once a week and play in the recreational games on Saturdays.
Funded by charitable donations to CiTY, the program provides full uniform kits, including jerseys, shorts, socks, cleats and a soccer ball, at no cost to players. All recreational program participation fees are waived for GOTB participants, resulting in a completely free program.
Licensed professional coaches work with the recreational program, ensuring that each CiTY player at every level receives quality training. At the end of the first GOTB season, several program participants tried out for travel teams at the club and received offers.
The program is currently led by CiTY Director of Recreational Programs Wade Whitney and Director of Soccer Operations and Player Development Rob Ryerson with help from volunteers from the soccer club and school community.
“The GOTB players are receiving important experience and life lessons on and off the field through this program, and being part of a team instills confidence and self-value in each player,” CiTY Director of Partnerships Amanda Buckler wrote. “The parents and families of GOTB participants also benefit greatly from the program, coming to see their children play in real soccer games, in uniform, each Saturday, and being part of the local sports community that so many take for granted because the cost and transportation barriers so often are not noticed in Howard County. Breaking down these barriers enables more of our community to be a part of the club soccer experience.”
Click HERE to learn more about the program and how YOU can help!
About the Maryland State Youth Soccer Association: MSYSA is a US Youth Soccer National State Association and is affiliated with both US Youth Soccer and the US Soccer Federation. The mission of MSYSA is to serve as the primary advocate for youth soccer in the state. MSYSA is dedicated to offering the highest quality soccer education, player development and programs while fostering sportsmanship, fitness, diversity, teamwork and passion for the game.