Featured image: Roger Torres in one of the stolen goals defending a shot from a CYSC player last fall . Photo by Earl Gardner.
PSP readers will be familiar with Camden Youth Soccer Club from the photo essay and Q&A we did with one of the club’s coaches, Barry Evans, last fall. CYSC is a volunteer-run urban soccer program that uses soccer as a way to teach healthy exercise and the benefits of teamwork.
As CYSC volunteer Gerald van Wilgen explains, “CYSC has been organizing a recreational noncompetitive program in the spring and fall of every year for almost 10 years. Every Saturday morning, up to 150 children find their way to the park. The fees are minimal. Donated soccer shoes are available for children who don’t own their own cleats.”
Like many urban soccer programs, CYSC isn’t exactly flush with money. So when vandals damaged the club’s goals last year, the volunteers fixed them.
Recently, someone decided vandalizing the club’s goals wasn’t enough. So they stole them. All four of them.
“The exact date of the crime is not known, Van Wilgen told PSP. “CYSC uses the fields of Pyne Point Park in North Camden. North Camden is one of the worst neighborhoods in the Western Hemisphere.”
When asked about Pyne Point Park, van Wilgen explained, “The fields are regularly torn up by cars and quads. Before every session, coaches and volunteers have to pick up used needles and other trash.”
“The soccer goals were left on the fields of Pyne Point Park to serve the soccer playing community of North Camden,” van Wilgen added. “With the upcoming season around the corner volunteers, coaches and board members of Camden Youth Soccer Club are trying to raise money to buy new goals.”
The club needs to raise $3,000 to replace the goals before the start of the spring season in April.
That’s where you can help.
Van Wilgen said, “On March 10 we are holding a fundraiser/dart tournament in the Sons of Ben Club House at the Irish Mile in Westmont NJ.”
For more information, go to the CYSC Facebook page.