Kehillah Soccer League Ready to Kick Off Season

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The Kehillah Old York Road Sunday Soccer League will roll out a new season on Sept. 7.

The global excitement of this summer’s World Cup has filtered down to the Mandell Education Campus in Melrose Park, where a group of kids — close to 200 strong — are getting their own kicks by signing up for the Kehillah Old York Road Sunday Soccer League.

The league, celebrating its 15th season — though records of when it actually started aren’t official — gets under way on Sunday, Sept. 7, with a special meet-and-greet appearance by members of the Philadelphia Union, the area’s professional soccer team.


The season, under the aegis of president Marie Schwartz of Rydal, concludes its run on Nov. 23.

The dozen Sunday games feature 17 teams — including representatives from the Perelman Jewish Day School, Early Learning at Beth Sholom Congregation, the Kol Ami Early Learning Center, the Gutman ELC and the Adath Jeshurun Preschool and Infant Center — of boys and girls ranging from pre-K to eighth grade, with a special needs team of kids ages 6 to 17. It is all billed as "a non-competitive intramural instructional soccer program."

Coached and managed by area parents, this all-volunteer self-sustaining league offers scholarships for those unable to pay registration fees.

The league’s goal is to help shape youngsters with the values of good sportsmanship, says Elkins Park’s Kim Decker, opening day chair. “We are teaching sportsmanship and the fundamentals of play,” eschewing the win-for-win’s-sake ethos. “It’s a haimisch, beautiful atmosphere. The idea is to play not to win, but to be a good person.”

The league is ruled by a helping-hand philosophy: “If a youngster falls on the field, players are encouraged to help him up” rather than run by him, she says.

While play is open to Jews and non-Jews, the league will present a special Rosh Hashanah program on Sept. 14 sponsored by jkidphilly.

It’s all about getting along, adds Decker: “We have some kids play wearing kipot and tzitzit alongside other kids who don’t belong to synagogues,” she notes. “There is no outward message, but the kids learn the beauty of getting along with others, whether similar or different.”

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