Girls Unite featured in NY Times!

By April 2, 2021 May 1st, 2021 No Comments

Are Spring Sports Safe for Kids? YES

Girls Unite founding director Lindsay Kauffman and some players were featured in The New York Times for the awesome work our organization has done to keep kids engaged and active during the pandemic.

Some excerpts:

“Leila Manuel is rarely without her soccer cleats. The 10 year old does drills at a field near her home on days with no practice and wears her club soccer jacket everywhere.

“She identifies as being an athlete,” said her mother, Solmaz Manuel. “Soccer is her favorite thing.”

For many athletic kids like Leila, the last year of social distancing has meant sidelining not only school and friendships, but also sports. For five months, Leila’s San Francisco team canceled practice altogether. Then it was another six months of no-contact drills.

Last week, though, Leila finally got to scrimmage again — the beginning of what she hopes will be a normal spring season.”

“In San Francisco, Leila’s soccer club, Girls Unite, is taking careful precautions. Coaches, spectators and kids all wear masks, even while playing. Parents are distanced on the sidelines, and players must fill out digital health forms before each practice and game.
“Parents are entrusting me with their children,” said Lindsay Kauffman, Girls Unite’s founding director. “It’s absolutely my responsibility above and beyond any game to make sure their kids are happy and healthy.””

“Making the game fun is especially important right now, said Kauffman, who occasionally shows up to soccer practice in a tutu and suspenders, just to get the kids laughing.

“We’ve made birthdays a big freaking thing this year,” she said. The kids remain socially distanced while they celebrate, and everyone gets a squirt of hand sanitizer before getting a cupcake. “But also, we’re singing and dancing around the birthday kid. We’re making each kid feel like, ‘We see you.’”

Kauffman encourages parents to have perspective this season and to forget about the wins and losses.

“Let’s just help them have some joy and be active,” she said. “These kids just need fun in their lives right now.””

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