They say it takes a village to raise a child, but what happens when the village gets taken apart by a global pandemic? Unexpectedly, the answer is girl’s soccer.
At Cannondale Generators, we keep our community at the forefront of everything we do. From serving families with home standby generators and emergency support during power outages to sponsoring incredible organizations like the Bridgeport United Football Club.
While we’ve spoken about our community outreach with BUFC before, our impact goes well beyond their semi-pro team. The U11 Bridgeport United Girls soccer team, for example, has been transformative to the little women of our community and their families.
We spoke with 9 year-old Nalian Torres and 8 year-old Alice Brown and their parents about how the U11 team has given them something to dream about, especially during these trying times.
Building a Stronger Community through Soccer
One of the core pillars of the Bridgeport United organization is to foster a community for every single person – regardless of race, gender, income, or anything in between.
Just like Cleeford and the semi-pro team, there are many girls who would not have access to the opportunity to play soccer were it not for the U11 team. The Bridgeport program provides an inclusive and fun space for these girls to not only kick a ball around, but to connect deeply with their teammates, families, and the community at large.
In fact, Nalian started playing soccer to be able to spend time with her friend, Roli, who is also on the team. She said “I like soccer because it’s something that can keep you healthy and…I feel like it can help me get stronger. I have fun with friends and learn at the same time!”
For Alice, it’s all about bonding with her father. She first started playing soccer with him when she was six years old. Now, at eight, she enjoys learning new things about the game they both love together. She also has a great time making new friends on the field and said it makes her want to play every single day!
One of the best outcomes of the team has been that parents are more involved at a time when we might forget to slow down. While the whole world battles these “unprecedented times”, families in Bridgeport are there for each other.
Nalian’s mom said “I like that the coaches and everyone are so involved; their involvement keeps me involved, which keeps the children involved. With [the] pandemic, it was isolating. It’s nice getting back with the kids and having fun.”
This was especially the case as families in Bridgeport saw their share of struggles from the financial and health setbacks caused by the pandemic. In place of these worries, the U11 Girls team became the perfect opportunity for the community to come together through soccer.
With sponsors like us at Cannondale Generators and other local businesses, the program is free for all the players. We are able to see the team thrive in all areas of their lives by supporting the Bridgeport United Football Club as a whole and even contributing to brand new gear for all the U11 players, including new cleats, jerseys, and more.
In fact, Nalian and Alice were both so excited to get their free gear! With fitted cleats and comfortable uniforms, these girls have a newfound confidence to take on the field while looking and feeling their very best.
Several parents and players have expressed their gratitude for the program as a wonderful alternative to other paid clubs and sports in the area that are much harder to commit to. Nalian’s mom said that “With the encouragement of them learning and making positive action, it motivates parents to help the[ir] kids [reach] their goals.”
The Future of Bridgeport
Soccer superstar, Megan Rapinoe, once said, “I need to feel like I have that freedom to make mistakes and to just try things.” And indeed, the girls of the Bridgeport U11 soccer team have that freedom.
Alice’s dad talks about how the sponsors of the soccer team make it possible to “creat[e] an environment that makes it no pressure to try something. They just want FUN. There is a high pressure in other programs that have high cost with not many good coaches.” Here, there is zero pressure for the girls to perform a certain way. Instead, players come from diverse backgrounds and have the freedom to have fun, make mistakes, and try those new things.
And the thing is, when a village comes together to raise a fulfilled child, the community is stronger for it. Not only do these little women learn from each other about teamwork, health, fun, and gratitude, but they learn to dream big too. Nalian said she wants to get a soccer scholarship one day, a prime example of how when young girls are given the world, they reach for the stars.
Support Women and BUFC with Cannondale
As you can see, the U11 Bridgeport United Girls team is so much more than soccer. It’s about empowering young women to give back, to dream big, to conquer whatever challenges lay ahead of them. This team is transforming our little women of Bridgeport into the leaders of a future we can be proud of.
That’s why Cannondale Generators is honored to sponsor the Bridgeport United Football Club and all they do for our beloved community. Learn more about the BUFC team and how you can support them at www.bportutd.com.