San Jose Earthquakes rookies Brad Ring and Steven Beitashour spoke to at-risk children at the Kick, Lead and Dream soccer camp at the Cherry Chase Elementary School in Sunnyvale on Wednesday, August 4. The two Quakes players spoke to the kids about the importance of making positive life choices in order to avoid falling prey to the gang lifestyle, as well as improving their soccer skills.
The Kick, Lead and Dream Initiative (KLD) was founded in 2007 by Akash Nigam as a way of bringing high school and middle school-aged kids with an interest in soccer together to help at-risk children and provide them with a role model to look up to. The goal is for those that are at-risk to learn leadership skills from these leaders, and to provide a structured program based on soccer for kids to attend.
Nigam, a Los Altos resident, was an incoming junior at Mountain Valley High School and a member of the varsity soccer team when he developed the idea of combining soccer with community service in 2007. With help from his friends Robby Gamble, Jordan Coff and Tom Canty, the first Kick, Lead and Dream camp was born.
Due to the help of dedicated volunteers, sponsors, parents and civic leaders, the program has grown immensely. In 2009, the camp expanded to include 50 coaches, 250 campers, soccer training, an academic center, fitness training, a junior camp for younger children and a guest speaker program, which Ring and Beitashour were a part of.
For more information on Kick, Lead and Dream soccer camps, visit their website at www.kldsoccer.com.