Memphis 901 FC players and staff pride themselves on personally meeting fans and supporters in the community whether it’s post-match at AutoZone Park or at the pub during the week, and this weekend off from USL Championship competition was a time to bring the Beale Street Boys to the youth.
901 FC held their second annual Community Open Practice at Snowden Grove Soccer Complex in Southaven, Miss., on Saturday, where they went through a full training session in front of hundreds of youth players, coaches and fans.
“It’s something that we started last year and it’s definitely grown this year,” 901 FC Assistant Sporting Director Caleb Patterson-Sewell said. “It was a huge turnout today and it’s something that’s really important to us as a club. We want to make sure we give back to the community and make sure there’s events at zero-dollar cost so everybody can attend.”
“It doesn’t matter if you play travel or rec or you’re just a fan, everybody’s welcome, This is an area of the club that we’re definitely going to push forward to connect further with the community and further with fans. Today was a fantastic day and we look forward to the next one.”
The event was the second open practice for the club, but the first held on a Saturday with over 700 youth players at the facility participating in rec league games and practices. Many of those kids were able to walk over to the next field and see a professional training session with their favorite players.
“It’s fantastic,” said Southaven Soccer Director Levi Nunnally. “The biggest thing is having a professional team here and available for the kids to be able to come out and watch them and see their professionalism. They get to see how they train and their mentality. So it’s great for the community, it’s great for Southaven and Snowden Grove, but more importantly it’s great for the kids”
The Beale Street Boys took the time after practice to meet their supporters, sign trading cards and take photos.
“It was a brilliant event today,” 901 FC Head Coach Stephen Glass said. “We’re able to reach parts of the community that we haven’t been before in the Southaven area. There’s obviously a lot of kids here that enjoy soccer so it’s brilliant that they can be up close and personal with the players. It’s an experience they’ve never had and maybe they’re inspired to become the next professionals.”
The open practice is just one of several free events the club has developed to reach out to youth players in the Mid-South. The next event will be this week’s Accel Performance and Wellness Clinic on Thursday, August 24, where young athletes can participate in an hour-long soccer specific fitness training at 901 FC’s official gym.
901 FC returns to AutoZone Park this Wednesday at 7 p.m. for $2 Beer Night as they host Indy Eleven looking for the season sweep.