Chicago KICS Youth Soccer Athletes Travel to Cuba

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Local News

The Chicago KICS Community Academy, one of the largest youth soccer programs in the city, hosted a special event on Wednesday night at Dunbar Park, as a celebratory sendoff for the first ever youth soccer teams from Chicago to travel to compete in Cuba. Amidst the latest news coming out of the Trump Administration, this historic trip could possibly be the last time youth athletes from Chicago have the opportunity to go to Cuba. At the event on Wednesday, players from the KICS United FC U16 and U12 boy’s teams gathered for a final training session in preparations for their competition in Cuba. Alderman Pat Dowell, 3rd Ward will also travel on this historic trip with over 60 players, parents and other community leaders. “It is surprising to see the progress that has been made in the last two years halted and reversed by the Trump Administration.” said Alderman Pat Dowell.

During the trip, the U16 and U12 boys will play competitive soccer in both Havana and Varadera against Cuban athletes. Players and families will also have several opportunities for cultural exchange with their Cuban counterparts at dinners and social events. “We are excited to take these kids to Cuba,” said Dr. Scott Hanlon, President of Chicago KICS Community Academy. Trump Administration officials are stating those who had already booked trips before the new policy takes effect would be able to go ahead with their plans, but future travel would be policed. “We have plans to bring a Cuban team to play at our KICS CUP here in Chicago next year, but with the latest Trump Administration announcement, there is now a black cloud over future opportunities,” added Dr. Hanlon. Directly after returning from Cuba, KICS will host its 4th Annual International Youth Soccer Cup in Chicago July 5th-9th, 2017. The KICS Cup will bring together over 100 teams from ten nations around the world in a competitive soccer match, which takes place in the heart of the city. The tournament allows KICS to further its missions of advancing peace through soccer with competition, camaraderie and cultural exchange. If the world could speak one language, that language would be soccer.

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