Harbin Clinic and YMCA of Rome & Floyd County unveiled a new partnership Monday to benefit young soccer players across the community. Harbin has agreed to help finance the soccer program through the YMCA for the next two years.
"We're very excited about this partnership," said YMCA Director Scott McCreless. "One of the promises the Y makes to this community is that every child should be able to play a sport ... regardless of their ability to pay. This partnership between Harbin and the Y helps ensure that."
The majority of the funds from Harbin Clinic will help pay the way for youth in both the recreation and the select competition team programs.
"We really hope it will go a long way toward making a difference in the health of community," McCreless said.
Harbin was one of the original sponsors when the YMCA built Grizzard Park in 1999 and has been a partner with the Y in one manner or another since then.
CEO Kenna Stock said Harbin has sponsored the basketball program at the Y for many years and having the opportunity to add soccer, "couldn't be any more exciting for us."
Stock told a crowd gathered at the Grizzard Park soccer complex that she hopes the partnership will go a long way toward addressing health care disparities in the community. As she looked out over the large number of YMCA soccer camp participants, she told attendees that the children are the future of the community.
"Being able to invest in them, there is nothing better than that," Stock said.
Lucas Levesque, director of coaching for the soccer program, said the sponsorship allows for "the next steps," from a club and community standpoint, to grow and serve the community.
Levesque brought two of his young soccer players out to model mock-ups of the new YMCA team soccer jerseys, which will feature the Harbin Clinic name across the front.
"We think its a nice sharp look and a little bit of a different design from what we've done in the past," Levesque said. "I think our kids and their parents are going to be excited to rock these jerseys and hopefully win a ton of games and have a lot of fun."