Nick Rimando (center) made some new friends at the soccer clinic.

Behind the Badge: Clinic a success

On Wednesday D.C. United hosted an introductory soccer clinic at the DC Parks and Recreation Facility at Barry Farm. The event drew over 300 kids and also served as the kickoff for United's new recreational soccer program, United Soccer Club, which begins in the spring of 2006. United Soccer Club, funded by the team's non-profit arm United for D.C., is being put in place for those children East of the Anacostia River who don't normally have the opportunity to play soccer. Former United player Judah Cooks is heading up the new club, which will serve as an after-school program in its first year.

"The event was a huge success and we realize even more the need for soccer east of the river," said Cooks. "I walked away from the afternoon's festivities with a greater understanding of just how important it is to get soccer going in the inner-city and we can't wait to get things started next spring."

United players Alecko Eskandarian, Nick Rimando, Bryan Namoff, Jamil Walker and Nana Kuffour offered personal instruction to the numerous kids in attendance, as the children were run through three stations: dribbling, shooting and small-sided games. They also got the chance to play on a large, inflatable obstacle course and get autographs from all of the players. Each also received a goody bag that contained a United soccer ball, an adidas t-shirt, pencils, pens, a team poster and reading material.

Sudamericana update
The team that ousted the Black-and-Red from Copa Nissan Sudamericana, Universidad Catolica, has advanced to the semifinals of the tournament after defeating Fluminense 2-0 in the second leg of the series. Catolica of Chile will face Boca Juniors (Argentina) who defeated Internazional (Brazil) 4-1 Thursday night, while Pumas UNAM of Mexico faces Velez Sarsfield of Argentina in the other semifinal.

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