Emily Arango is a 4th grader at P.S. 146 who loves to play soccer. Through the Downtown United Soccer Club and Gotham Girls Football Club’s outreach program, which is known as City Soccer Initiative (CSI), Arango had the opportunity to experience the game with professional coach Ivan Perez. Perez represents the CSI program at P.S. 146. As he coaches and teaches the kids how to play soccer, Perez looks for opportunities to incorporate life skills into his sessions. When Perez first began coaching Arango, he knew she was a special player with a drive to play the game beyond what the school-based program could provide. He then connected Arango with the Gotham Girls Football Club.

Arango is now a member of the Gotham Girls Football Club Magic. Her team trains twice a week and plays in the Westchester Youth Soccer League. The Magic is one of eight teams in the Gotham Girls Football Club (GGFC). The association develops creative and confident soccer players and provides coaches who include the CSI life skills component in practice sessions.

Nicola Baker is Arango’s current soccer coach. A former collegiate soccer player who has been coaching youth soccer for ten years, Baker sees the same characteristics in Arango that inspired coach Perez to connect the young player with Gotham Girls.

City Soccer Initiative served as a bridge for Arango to achieve higher success with the sport because P.S. 146 understands the program’s potential and actively supports it. The social, physical and psychological benefits experienced by the children are lasting and impacting. Sports can create opportunities for kids to make positive connections that enhance their childhood and provide adult mentors who want to help kids succeed. CSI is driven to grant positive soccer experiences to children who may not get to the opportunity to play sports outside of school.

Arango is now connected to the only club in New York City solely focused on the developmental needs of female soccer players. Gotham Girls FC includes a youth academy for young players and competitive teams. GGFC aims to allow girls to achieve high levels of playing experience and significant exposure to the nation’s college soccer programs. Gotham Girls FC implements a training model with an ultimate goal of developing players who are capable of playing at the highest levels. The Gotham Girls FC has a wealth of international and experienced coaches who share their love for the game with the players in an empowering setting. Coaches encourage players to be creative and, most importantly, GGFC encourages girls to show off with the ball and to play with flair and joy. Gotham Girls FC is turning girl soccer players into soccer fans for life.

Gotham Girls FC and Sky Blue FC, an American professional soccer club, have established a great relationship. The Sky Blue Soccer School sends its professional coaches to the GGFC for specialized training sessions. Sky Blue FC also runs a camp for girls at the GGFC home field Pier 40 in July. It is a fantastic experience for any girl who loves to play soccer. The female coaching staff is a team of former competitive players themselves who love coaching. Having female coaches working with young female athletes sends an important message to the kids involved. It becomes about leadership, professionalism, poise and confidence.

Gotham Girls FC is excited for the future of soccer for girls in New York City. The goal of the Gotham Girls Soccer Club is to create an elite training and competition program for the most talented and committed girl soccer players in the metropolitan region. The organization continues to provide opportunities for girls to play quality soccer in the city throughout their entire playing career.

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