After securing their first win of the Premier League’s Summer Series at Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Field Saturday, English football club Chelsea stuck around the City of Brotherly Love to introduce children from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Philadelphia to the beautiful game.
On Monday, children ages 9 through 13 were taught basic dribbling and shooting skills at Cristo Rey Philadelphia High School and were given the opportunity to hang out with some of the club’s professional players afterwards. The event was hosted by The Chelsea Foundation and Hilton.
Andy Ottley, Chelsea’s U14 head coach, who traveled with the team all the way from London, said the main thing was ensuring the children are engaged and having fun when playing for the first time.
“It doesn’t matter what it is and what sport they play, they like being competitive,” Ottley said. “They like being challenged and coming up with new things, so that’s what we’re here to try and do, and we’re just using soccer to try and do that.”
Chelsea and England national team forward Raheem Sterling said he wants to be a positive influence for the youth and was grateful for the opportunity. He said clinics like these can have a bigger impact on a kid outside of soccer.
“I think it’s a new experience for a lot of them, but seeing them enjoy it, that’s the most important thing,” Sterling said. “When an establishment like Chelsea goes out into different communities and gives time for the kids … to develop another skill set, the most important thing is not if they actually pick it up, it’s the learning process that will come with it.”
Chelsea defeated Brighton 4-3 on Saturday at Lincoln Financial Field, and will play Newcastle United in Atlanta on July 26.
In 2026, Philadelphia will be one of 16 North American cities to host matches for the FIFA World Cup.