Seeds in the Middle, a Crown Heights nonprofit that promotes health and physical well-being for Brooklynites in low-income areas, is planting new seeds to grow a soccer league in Central Brooklyn. 

The organization, which runs a variety of programs to empower children and their families to lead healthier lives, ranging from urban gardening to farmers’ markets and fitness classes, will be hosting a soccer tournament on Sunday, July 14, to jumpstart the launch of its soccer league this fall. 

“We’ve known for many years that there hasn’t been a grassroots soccer program in our community that’s affordable and where kids can compete against each other,” said Nancie Katz, founder of Seeds in the Middle. “Since there’s nothing nearby, we thought, ‘Why don’t we create our own?’ And that’s where the idea came for creating an actual soccer league.”

Since 2009, Seeds in the Middle has been offering recreational soccer sessions at Hamilton Metz Field for children and adults at low-cost rates and, in some cases, for free. The program, said Katz, brings families together to exercise and have fun with a round of soccer.

The league will be geared toward those who want to take the game more seriously and are willing to commit to a three-month season with a regular schedule of practices and games, she explained. Aspiring soccer players, ages 5 – 10, will receive weekly instruction on Thursdays and then get to play against other teams on Sundays.

Players ages 5 and older are welcome to join Sunday’s tournament. Photo courtesy Seeds in the Middle.

“Over the years, I had some very good players in my recreational programs, but where could they go to learn more? Many of the other programs are very expensive,” said Katz, referring to established programs in Manhattan that can cost hundreds of dollars each month. “This new program will be a grooming ground for players.”

For the league, she hopes to find at least 22 players for three age divisions: U6, for players ages 5-6; U8, for players ages 7-8; and U10, for players ages 9-10. After September’s tryouts, players can join the league for $80 per month. The league will run from September through November and pick back up in the spring.

Sunday’s tournament, which is free and open to all regardless of age, gender and experience, aims to bring attention to the existing program and generate curiosity for the upcoming league, but also to celebrate community, said Katz.

“It’s a way to build community in our neighborhood and foster teamwork,” she added. “We host these tournaments to show the community that sports for kids can be affordable and fun.”

Single players and existing teams are welcome to join. The kids’ tournament, for players ages 5 and up, will kick off at 4:00pm, followed by an adult game at 6:00pm. The matches will take place at Hamilton Metz Field, 608 Lefferts Avenue.

To learn more about Seeds in the Middle’s soccer programs, or to sign up for Sunday’s tournament, go here

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