High level coaches and elite youth soccer players join forces with children with physical and developmental disabilities to improve their soccer skills and to share in the love of the game.
The Story Behind Jacob’s Soccer Camp
Jacob started his soccer career in 2008 as a U9 player for the Ukrainian Nationals. After several years playing for the Ukrainian Nationals and then FC Delco’s pre-academy team, Jacob joined FC Montco (2016 ranked #1 in the US). Jacob previously participated in the YSC Union Junior program, ODP, the AFA Futsal league and was a member of the Philadelphia Union’s Summer Select team.
Jacob decided to establish Jacob’s Soccer Camp after spending several months working as a youth volunteer with the Variety Club of Philadelphia. Jacob observed that many of the kids he was working with demonstrated a real enjoyment of the game of soccer and felt that, like him, these kids would likely enjoy the opportunity to receive more specialized training. At the same time he felt that many of his soccer friends would gain a great deal of satisfaction and enjoyment out of helping other kids. Many of Jacob’s teammates and soccer friends assist at the camps. While the primary goal of the camp is to have fun, we are also serious about teaching soccer to kids at every level.
Establishing the camp took many twists and turns but a few key fortuitous events are what truly led to the camp becoming a reality. At a youth futsal match in early 2013, Jacob saw his former Ukrainian Nationals U9 assistant coach, Mr. Bob Sitler and told Mr. Sitler about his hopes for a soccer camp. Mr. Sitler loved the idea and mission of the camp and agreed to approach the Club’s board on Jacob’s behalf to request the donation of the Club’s turf field for a week that coming August. The Board graciously agreed. Next, in a chance meeting, Jacob and his father, Marc, ran into another one of Jacob’s former coaches, Mr. Gary Stephenson, at the Philadelphia Union Foundation’s Cocktails & Cleats Charity Dinner. Coach Stephenson, who served at the time as Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer’s Assistant Director of Coaching, introduced Jacob and his father to Michael Barr, Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer’s then Director of Coaching. After some discussion it was discovered that the four were all to be in Manchester, England later that month, Coach Barr and Coach Stephenson to coach and support the area’s ODP teams and Jacob and his father to attend the then upcoming Manchester United vs. Manchester City match. The foursome agreed to meet for dinner while in Manchester. At dinner in Manchester, Jacob described his vision for his camp, and Coach Barr, who it turned out, had taught Special Ed for 20 years, could not have embraced the idea more vigorously or have been more supportive. After a bit of discussion and sharing of ideas, Coach Barr offered his full support and the resources of Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer to help Jacob make the camp a reality!