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With the Houston Dash on the cusp of clinching the franchise’s first playoff berth, the excitement around Houston’s NWSL side has arguably never been higher. This level of excitement was on full display on Monday evening, when Houston Dash defender Jamia Fields took time out of preparing for the team’s final regular season match against the Washington Spirit in order to lead a soccer clinic for students from the KIPP Sunnyside Boys & Girls Club of Greater Houston. The clinic was a part of a partnership with Nationwide and the Nationwide Community Impact Award, a season-long, community-focused initiative that will promote community partners and local service projects chosen and led by each NWSL club. 

The event, which took place at Cloverland Park, home to the two newest mini-pitches erected by Dynamo Charities, gave students from the local KIPP Sunnyside Boys & Girls Club an opportunity to exercise and learn about soccer from one of the city’s professionals.  

“Some kids haven’t even played the game, but it was amazing to see how much fun they had with it and how easily they picked it up, so it was great,” Jamia said. “Being able to come to a predominantly black community where they don’t have many resources and you don’t know what at home life is like and being able to come out here and show lover the way I know how, through the game, it means a lot.” 

Fields oversaw about 40 children between the ages of 6 and 11 as they ran through drills with Houston Dynamo youth coaches and played pickup soccer with Fields herself. In addition to playing soccer, Fields answered questions in a Q&A session and signed autographs for each child at the end of the event. According to KIPP Sunnyside Boys and Girls Club Youth Development Specialist Bedan Ngugi, this event was meaningful for these children in more ways than one. 

“A lot of the kids that you see here have a smile that I have never seen before. A lot of them come from homes and backgrounds that sometimes bring me down to Earth very quickly. It’s a real joy to see that people like Jamia Fields will take time out of their day, time out of their life, just to see kids have fun, see kids get better in something that maybe they wouldn’t know that they’re good at. It looked like they had a smile before they came in and they will have an even bigger smile when they leave. She and everybody here made a huge and amazing impact on these kids.”