COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- A program providing free soccer for children across Colorado Springs is back for a second year.
Created by Olympic City USA and funded by the Dakota Foundation, with support from the Children's Hospital Colorado and the Shuck Foundation, the program waives the registration fee for the first 300 kids to register with the City of Colorado Springs Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Department.
The program is open to children in Pre-K through second grade.
“In Olympic City USA, we recognize the positive impact that youth sports can have on kids, which will last through their lifetime,” said Janet Suthers, Chair of the Olympic City USA Task Force. “This opportunity should not be limited by the ability to pay a fee, and this program eliminates that barrier. We are so grateful that the Dakota Foundation was able to fund this program through 2022, and we look forward to expanding it to reach more kids across more age groups.”
A spokesperson for the city told KRDO children who play youth sports are more likely to avoid health issues, like diabetes and obesity, and have long-term benefits regarding mental health.
"Our goal is to help keep kids healthy and out of our hospital, and participating in sports is proven to help both their “The past two years have been tremendously difficult on children, both mentally and physically,” said Greg Raymond, President of Children’s Hospital Colorado’s Southern Region. “Our goal is to help keep kids healthy and out of our hospital, and participating in sports is proven to help both their mental and physical well-being. That is why we are so proud to be able to support this initiative for kids in our community.”
Spring soccer registration opens on January 3, and the program will continue in the fall. The City expects to make available more free spots as funding and availability of volunteer coaches grow.