New youth soccer initiative offers ‘free football for all’

New York kids can get their kicks for free this spring.

Fidelis Care has teamed up with the New York City Football Club and the Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association to create Free Football for All, an initiative to get children all over the five boroughs, Long Island and Westchester into the sport.

And it’s at no cost to families.

“We felt that after the pandemic, so many kids were impacted by being stuck inside,” Pam Hassen, Fidelis Care’s chief member-engagement officer, told The Post. “We know how important it is for kids to get out in the community and interact with others. We know how important it is for kids to be healthy,” she said, adding that youth sports can be cost-prohibitive for many families.

The insurance company has worked with NYCFC on other programs, but this is the inaugural Free Football for All, and they hope to draw about 4,000 kids across the area.

Children from ages 7 to 14 are eligible to play in the program’s smaller pickup-style games with three-on-three, four-on-four and five-on-five formats. All games and clinics will be overseen by NYCFC Youth coaches.

Free Football for All is available to New York City, Long Island and Westchester residents, ages 7 to 14.
Free Football for All is available to kids, ages 7 to 14, across New York City, Long Island and Westchester.
Courtesy of Fidelis Care

“It’s open to both boys and girls in each age group. It’s an opportunity for kids to get exposed to soccer, which has gained in popularity over the last few years,” said Hassen.

The program will run through June with hopes to extend into the summer. Participants can register at Each week, game locations and schedules will be posted on the site.

In addition to learning soccer skills and the fundamentals of the game, kids will also be taught about sportsmanship and leadership.

And maybe NYCFC will discover the next David Villa in the group.