The Newcomer Youth Soccer League (NYSL) was created by WoodGreen Newcomer Services staff as an innovative, new way to reach out and connect with youth, who may have otherwise been unaware of the unique settlement support that WoodGreen can offer specifically for young people. “Our league sees youth from all over the world who speak many different languages and come from many different cultural backgrounds, but they all have one thing in common: they all speak soccer,” says Lenard See, Manager of WoodGreen’s Youth Settlement Services.
participated in the league since its inception
The staff team is made up of trained social workers and settlement counsellors, who are able to provide support to youth right on the field if they have questions or concerns. Speaking over 6 languages, the staff are a friendly and approachable source of information with an incredible breadth of knowledge about available resources, and can connect the youth to other supports they may need.
For some, the NYSL is a first introduction to other settlement and counselling services we offer. For others, it’s simply a place to make friends and have fun. No matter the reasons for coming, the soccer league provides youth with the stability and comfort they need to adapt to their new home.
“The NYSL helps reduce isolation and create friendships that last well beyond the soccer pitch.”
In 2016, the league was able to grow into a full scale program thanks to a $50,000 seed grant from the MLSE Foundation. Since then, the MLSE Foundation has been a generous supporter, providing gear and even renovating a community space at our 815 Danforth Avenue location in partnership with Toronto FC/MLS. The newly decked out room is now an inviting space, where youth are excited to hang out, with a foosball table, comfy new furniture, laptop stations and video games, surrounded by Toronto FC memorabilia, all made possible by Toronto FC, MLSE and Major League Soccer.
The NYSL provides a safe space for youth to meet others in a similar situation, and form new relationships. With a focus on friendly, non-competitive play, the NYSL is a welcoming, non judgemental place for newcomer youth to unwind and have fun.
by staff in the WoodGreen Newcomer Services unit