On a warm night in May, two-dozen kids ranging from ages six to 14-years old gather on the Central Park Great Hill on West 106th Street in Manhattan to participate in a free soccer clinic from Benswic, a Manhattan-based youth sports organization.
Coach Mamadou yells out to the kids, “Six passes before you shoot. That is one pass, that is two passes… keep going guys, spread out.”
Mamadou is one of the newest members of the Benswic coaching staff, hired to run the soccer clinics and camps taking place this summer. He was born and raised in Senegal, Africa, where soccer was a way of life for him and many other kids at a young age.
“I have been playing soccer since I was seven years old,” he said. “We played in the streets. It was soccer and school, and we loved it. It was a way of life for many of us.”
Mamadou’s great footwork, size and skills landed him a spot on Senegal’s professional “football” team and he represented his country playing for many years.
In 2010, Mamadou was drafted by the New York Red Bulls, an American professional soccer team based in Harrison, New Jersey, and he moved to the United States. Although he didn’t make the team, Mamadou continued to play soccer in New York City, and started to teach children all over the five boroughs how to play and love the game.
“When you are teaching soccer to kids, you have to remember that they need to learn the basics such as dribbling and passing. My passion is soccer, and I love teaching boys and girls all the proper techniques I never had the opportunity to learn at such a young age,” he added.
Mamadou is excited to help Benswic get its soccer program off the ground and teach more children across New York City the game. He will lead the coaching efforts at Benswic’s summer soccer camps starting on July 10. For more information about Benswic’s soccer program, camps and 1:1 sessions with Mamadou, give Benswic a call.
“We are building valuable and quality programs with experienced coaches such as Mamadou,” said Willam Marshall, founder and chief executive officer, Benswic. “We are lucky to have Mamadou bring his love the game to Benswic and so many kids across the city.”