NEW HAVEN, CT (WFSB) – A local non-profit is giving kids a chance by helping restart a school soccer program.

For a number of kids at New Haven’s Truman School, it’s more than just a game.

On a patch of grass outside Truman School, a group of boys and girls work on sharpening their soccer skills.

It’s all thanks to the James Vick Foundation, a charity that’s all about providing free sports programs for kids.

Christian Vick, who played college basketball locally and professionally overseas, says sports gave him a chance. Now he’s doing the same for the kids in New Haven and surrounding towns.

It’s not an easy job though.

“These kids are refugees, immigrants, working class kids, some even towards the poverty line. Honestly, youth sports cost American families 15 billion dollars a year. The lower middle class and the working class can’t afford it anymore,” Vick said.

Vick’s foundation stepped in at Truman this year after the school cut its soccer team two years ago.

Vick said many of the kids didn’t even have cleats or shin guards. Thankfully, the foundation had donations.

Also, they don’t have a soccer field with goals. Rather, they’re sharing a space with a football team.

“Not only do these kids not have cleats, shin guards, they don’t even have an after school bus. You have to understand, many of them in that school don’t speak English, so they don’t even have allocated time to work on English as a second language after school, never mind the soccer team,” Vick said.

For now, Vick and his organization are committed, looking for donations, grants, and even paying for uniforms out of their own pockets.

“Our plan is to go in there, build the program, making it sustainable and give it back to the school,” Vick said.

The Truman School team gets to showcase its talents this weekend. The James Vick Foundation is hosting a tournament with a handful of local youth teams at the soccer field on Ella Grasso Boulevard.

Copyright 2019 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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