Nonprofits team up to provide soccer cleats for Valley kids

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The average cost to play competitive youth soccer in the Valley is about $1,800 -- that's not factoring in travel expenses or equipment.

But two local non-profits are looking to help ease some of the burdens on families by offering free cleats to the kids who need them.

"The opportunity to play soccer can be life-changing, so I think it's super important for kids to have access to an organized sports opportunity and outdoor exercise," says Level the Playing Field Co-Founder Setareh Tais.

Organizers from Level the Playing Field Fresno and Neighborhood Industries held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday to welcome a "Cleat Closet" at the Neighborhood Thrift Store in Fresno's Tower District.

Parents can come here to pick up a free pair of cleats for their kids once they get a voucher at LevelThePlayingFieldFresno.com.

"I think soccer is a sport that requires green space, so I really hope something like this gives kids the hope that if they see a patch of grass and they got cleats on their feet, they have an opportunity to dream," says Neighborhood Industries CEO Anthony Armour.

"Sometimes, we go to games and people are playing soccer in Vans, so they don't complain about it but that's not safe for their feet to not be playing in proper shoes or cleats," Tais said.

Organizers want to change that -- the Cleat Closet offers a wide variety of sizes and styles.

"If you need cleats or if you know someone who needs cleats, we can help you out with that and not just that," Tai said. "We have scholarships and a free camp coming up in December as well."

Those interested in donating new or gently used cleats can bring donations to the Neighborhood Thrift in Fresno's Tower District.
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