Held at Kia Training Ground, Toronto FC's state-of-the-art practice facility, kids were able to build their soccer skills on the same pitch as the pros and learn valuable lessons in self-esteem, fair play and leadership.
Toronto FC forward Robert Earnshaw receives a warm welcome from KickStart kids
Toronto FC's first team, academy players, coaching staff and president and general manager, Kevin Payne, were all in attendance to celebrate the KickStart launch.
"We are very excited for the second year of the KickStart program along with our partners at MLSE Foundation, Kia and Toronto Community Housing. We're happy to host the kids at our training facility where they can interact and learn from our players," said Toronto FC President and General Manager Kevin Payne. "Millions of children around the world play soccer and we want to ensure those in our community have the same opportunity."
KickStart programs will be held in 12 different communities across the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and will focus on using sport as a tool to engage with youth and their families. It also aims to promote skill-building, community-building and healthy active living. Funded by MLSE Foundation, each host community will be outfitted with equipment, permits and staff.
Toronto Community Housing President and CEO Gene Jones welcomes members of the Toronto FC to KickStart
"During Toronto Community Housing's Year of the Youth, we are expanding our programs so that children have the skills necessary to make positive changes in their own lives and the well-being of their neighbourhoods," said Eugene Jones Jr., President and CEO, Toronto Community Housing. "Thanks to KickStart, talented young athletes are given just such a chance through expert coaching and through opportunities to learn life skills and make new friends."
This year's KickStart celebration focused on the refurbishment to Tretheway Park in Etobicoke. The MLSE Foundation converted the park into a soccer pitch with goal posts, team benches and spectator seating. The remaining 11 proposed communities are Teesdale/Detonia Park, Regent Park, Kingston-Galloway, Victoria Park, Glendower, Grandravine, Mabelle, Lawrence Heights, Rowntree, Scarlettwood Court, and 3190 Kingston Road.
KickStart kids take part in the thrill of opening day drills and games
"Kia Canada is thrilled to be in partnership with Toronto FC, the MLSE Foundation and Toronto Community Housing to execute the Tretheway Pitch refurbishment, which expresses our commitment to the sport of soccer at the grassroots level," said Robert Staffieri, Director of Marketing, Kia Canada Inc. "The sport and pitch will serve great service a for today and tomorrows youth in building lasting skills, friendships and memories."
For more information about KickStart, please visit http://www.torontohousing.ca/kickstart
About the Organizations
The MLSE Foundation believes all kids should have access to sport and the opportunity to develop lasting dreams on the playing field. With the support of all four MLSE teams the Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto Raptors, Toronto FC and Toronto Marlies the Foundation funds the refurbishment of local athletic facilities and programs that support kids through sports and recreation. Since launching in December 2009, the MLSE Foundation has invested more than $9.5 million into our community. Last season, more than 110,000 kids' lives were impacted through the power of sport. Visit mlsefoundation.org, or follow @MLSEFoundation.
Kia Canada Inc. a maker of quality vehicles for the young-at-heart is a subsidiary of Kia Motors Corporation (KMC) which was founded in 1999 and sells and services high quality, class leading vehicles like the Soul, Forte, Optima and Sorento through a network of 181 dealers nationwide. Kia Canada Inc. employs 159 people in its Mississauga, Ontario headquarters and four regional offices across Canada, with an all-new state-of-the-art facility to open in Montreal shortly. Kia's brand slogan "The Power to Surprise" represents the company's global commitment to surprise the world by providing exciting & inspiring experiences that go beyond expectations.
Toronto Community Housing is Canada's largest social housing provider and home to more than 164,000 tenants with low and moderate incomes about six per cent of Toronto's population. Toronto Community Housing and its subsidiaries employ 1,400 staff in a broad range of jobs, who deliver its mission to provide affordable housing, connect tenants to services and opportunities, and work together to build healthy communities.
Abby Albino, MLSE, 416.882.5485
Marco Ouji, Toronto Community Housing, 416.981.4347