Youth soccer league offers more than just games

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Crime can be a problem in many neighborhoods and there's one group trying something a little different to clean up their streets.

Nearly five hundred kids have signed up for the Bobcats Sports League in Richmond's Southside and now volunteers have opened a consignment shop off Jahnke Rd. to help pay for kids that can't afford to play. Volunteers hope they can keep kids in this neighborhood out of trouble and on the playing field.

Robyn Parsons isn't happy when she hears about crime in her Southside neighborhood and for the last four years, she's been doing something about it. She started the Bobcat Sports League to get kids to play soccer. She chose soccer because she figured it'd be cheap - she says all you need is a ball and a pair of feet. But you need uniforms too and that can be an expense some families can't afford.

"Some of the families can afford uniforms and that's wonderful, but some of them can't and some of the parents have more than one child," said Robyn Parsons. "They might have three children that play in the organization and they're a single parent. That becomes very difficult."

So Robyn opened up the Re-Use Thrift and Consignment Shop off Jahnke Road last week. The proceeds from this thrift store go toward keeping the league running -- something that Robyn hopes will keep kids out of trouble.

"We're trying to get a handle on the crime, trying to put something positive in this area that has been empty for a long time."

She knows you can't fight crime sitting on the sidelines.

"You have to participate. You have to be part of the solution. You have to come out and everybody has to put in their part and do their part and it just makes things better. You can't just go to your house and stay in your house and wonder why there's crime."

Kids up to the age of 15 play in the soccer league. The thrift store is a 501(c)(3), so donations are tax deductible.

The Bobcat Sports League has also started a swimming program for this summer and is offering nutrition counseling for parents and children.

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