Downtown United, now more than 30 years old, raises money for its travel club.
Lower Manhattan For more than three decades, the Downtown United Soccer Club has been training some of the best young soccer players in New York City, which is how it attracted Claudio Reyna, the former captain of the New York Red Bulls, to a recent fundraiser for the club at the Greenwich Village Country Club.
The fundraiser helped pay for the club's extensive scholarship program, which helps players who can't afford the costs of competitive travel. "The whole DUSC philosophy is not just about improving players on the soccer field, we're all about character development off the field as well," said Coach Adam Norse.
Norse has been coaching soccer for 10 years, and began working with Downtown United in 2013. One of the things that stood out to him was the club's willingness to help find funding for players. "We are able to be very inclusive since we've got such great sponsors, and fundraising going on. We can get kids playing the game that should be playing, and would otherwise be excluded," he said.
During a water break from a recent practice, players talked about the program.
"I think that this club is competitive, but in a really fun way," said Renzo, age 12.
There was an infectious energy among the entire team, each of them encouraging one another.
"Leadership always leads to victory," said goalie Jesse Wexler, "and this club has taught me how to be a leader."