Philadelphia youth soccer program gives new meaning to "SWAG"

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Saturday, June 5, 2021
Philly soccer program gives new meaning to "SWAG"
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Soccer is helping Philadelphia children in underserved communities get the ball rolling on their future.

PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- "I've learned most of my life lessons through the game," said Nick Bibbs about soccer. "Without the game, who knows where I would be right now?"

Bibbs played soccer since he was a child growing up in West Philadelphia. He took his talents to Syracuse University and then pursued four years of professional play. Today, he is the U15 Assistant Coach with the Philadelphia Union and the Director of Coaching with "The SWAG" soccer training program.

"Giving back is another way of kind of building a community and hopefully building leaders of the future," he said.

Since 2018, The SWAG has emboldened roughly 2,000 children in African-American and immigrant communities in Philadelphia. Their goal is to bring exciting opportunities to children in underserved neighborhoods. The 47-week annual program is funded by philanthropists, resulting in no cost to parents and players. Today, one of their largest events came to fruition at the Mallery Recreation Center thanks to a partnership with City Athletics Philly.

"We're working with different leaders in the community who run different programs and bringing everyone together," said Bibbs. "It's beautiful.

Arnold Kennedy enrolled his son, Olivet, into the program. Kennedy, a professional player himself, was born in Liberia and remembers playing soccer while barefoot in his hometown. Today, he is proud to see his son is following in his footsteps.

"After school, they got something to look forward to. That way, they don't go in the street doing something negative. It's always positive," said Kennedy. "So, I would love to see this program going on years and years out."

To learn more about The SWAG Program, visit their website.

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