This North Salem 9th grader is sharing her passion for soccer while helping to support players in need

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Brianna Conway (L) and her friend Ruby Molina (R) at Conway's free soccer clinic in North Salem. (Benjamin Allen / HudValley Photo)

Brianna Conway has been involved with soccer and the Girl Scouts for nearly a decade. So, she figured, why not find a way to combine her two passions? For her Girl Scout Silver Award, the North Salem high school freshman is hosting a series of free youth soccer clinics at Joe Bohrdrum Park in North Salem to share her love of soccer with the next generation of players while also raising funds for underprivileged players in our area.

Conway has planned four hour-long clinics in the month of August for kids in grades 1 through 5. She has completed two sessions already and is preparing for her two remaining sessions this week. At each clinic, she leads participants through different skill activities while keeping the session fun and engaging before closing out with a group chat and review of the skills they learned.

Brianna Conway demonstrates some footwork. (Benjamin Allen / HudValley Photo)

“I had to learn how to know what level [the players] are at so that I could teach them the skills at their level, make it fun and keep them interested,” Conway said. It’s a challenge Conway has been happy to take on and early feedback from her attendees shows that her formula is working. “They all said they had fun and wanted to come back,” Conway reported. Her mom, Joni, added that running these clinics has helped Brianna to demonstrate her leadership skills while also boosting her confidence.

Developing these kinds of life skills are an essential part of the Girl Scouts experience. The Girl Scouts program is designed to help prepare girls for a lifetime of leadership and, according to the Girl Scouts of America, G.I.R.L. stands for go-getter, innovator, risk-taker and leader .

Valentina Molina, age 4, works though the cones. (Benjamin Allen / HudValley Photo)

With two more clinics to go, Conway is looking forward to teaching more kids the fundamentals of soccer while helping to support underprivileged soccer players elsewhere in Westchester. Joni had previously learned from the athletic director at Alexander Hamilton High School in Elmsford, NY that the school needed equipment for their soccer teams but lacked the necessary funds. From there, the idea was born to use the clinic here in our own community to help support the students at Alexander Hamilton.

While there is no charge for the clinic, Conway is asking participants (and anybody who wants to help) to make a monetary donation. Funds raised will go toward the purchase of new uniforms, soccer balls and netting for soccer goals. Conway also plans to make training videos and post them to YouTube so she can further extend her reach to budding soccer players wherever they may be.

David Figelman, age 8, practices his footwork. (Benjamin Allen / HudValley Photo)

Remaining clinics:

Thursday, August 12: 6:45 p.m. at JB Park in North Salem
Saturday, August 14 at 10:00 a.m. at JB Park in North Salem

For registration, more information, and/or to make a donation, interested individuals can email joniconway@aol.com


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