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Around the world, soccer is one of the first sports most kids learn to play.  However in many urban American cities, you will be hard pressed to find the world’s favorite sport being played by inner city youth, outside of the occasional P.E. class. For those metro Atlanta parents who want to get their son or daughter involved in the sport, here are four organizations that provide a range of free and/or low cost programming:

On the Eastside:  Created in partnership with the East Lake YMCA, Healthy Lives Healthy Kids provides recreational soccer programming for youth ages 3-18.  To learn more about their teams, go to www.hlhk.org.

In the Southwest:  Consisting of recreational, academy and select teams for both boys and girls, Tiger Soccer Club is one of South Fulton County’s most successful soccer programs.  The rapidly growing organization fields teams from U4 to U19.  To find out to get your child involved, go to www.tigersoccerclub.com

Metro Atlanta Girls:  Founded by Atlanta radio and sports personality Rashan Ali, Sporty Girls Inc. seeks to encourage minority girls age 8 - 18 to participate and achieve success in non-traditional sports, such as golf, soccer, swimming, and tennis, while building good character and lifestyle skills.  Free clinics and workshops are offered throughout the year in addition to its highly prestigious Camp Elite summer program.  To learn more about SGI, go to www.sportygirlsinc.org.

Throughout Metro Atlanta:  Soccer in the Streets empowers underserved youth through soccer, mentoring, character building and employability programs.  Through partnering organizations, such as schools, community centers and parks, multiple sessions are conducted each week to ensure a consistent presence in the community and ongoing positive influence among the youth.   The organization operates from four hubs (Atlanta (proper), Clarkston, College Park and Sandy Springs), and provides programming to elementary students, teens and young adults.  To get involved in their various activities, contact SITS at www.soccerstreets.org.

  Stay tuned for more in-depth highlights of each of Healthy Lives Healthy Kids, Tiger Soccer Club, Sporty Girls Inc., and Soccer in the Streets in future posts.

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