The Philadelphia region was midway through a heat advisory on Friday afternoon, and the North Philadelphia’s Athletic Club of Fairhill was in full-on celebration mode for two Ireland-bound soccer players.
Two brilliant young AC Fairhill soccer players — Kamil Johnson and Kasib Ahmad, Jr, both 10 — have been selected to play with Mont Co. Select for the Limerick Cup at Limerick University in Ireland.
The 12th & Cambria Advisory Board hosted a going away party was at the 12th & Cambria Recreation Center – the star players’ home field.
“This is wonderful. I am so proud of these young men, especially coming from our neighborhood… I pray that they go even further,” said Arlene Carrecter, President 12th & Cambria Recreation Center Advisory Board.
Johnson’s mom, Amanda Wrens-Easley, set up a successful GoFundMe page to help her get a real-world look and experience at soccer on a global stage.
“I anticipate that they’re going to get some type of different training than what they have over here,” said Wrens-Easley. “I’m hoping that with it being an international location that is more intense, and a bit different than the US. But I’m hoping that this is a great experience for him — and for him to know that he can go anywhere with soccer. That it’s not just not here on the field; it’s everywhere.”
This North Philly recreation center sits mere blocks, yards if you may, from the section Glenwood Avenue renamed Smokin’ Joe Frazier Boulevard in honor the legendary boxer.
37th Ward Leader Eleanor Brown said she is also known as “El Amour” for “the love that you spread around and around. You never run out of love.” She explains how the area has battled back from being taken over by violence, and how, today, the community were going to lift up these young athletes.
“To me, it’s the greatest thing since I’ve been ward leader that somebody recognized the youth for good instead of for the heartfelt pain they bring so many people, especially at this center,” reflected Brown. “I respect the mothers and the fathers for the great job that they have done with their sons for their family, but also for our community. So this is why I’m here to put a couple bucks in their pocket. They like our grandchildren, and grandparents always give grandchildren a little something-something to go somewhere.”
Prior to Friday’s cookout send-off, Ahmad and Johnson showed media guests their practice field. The boy’s playful banter indicated a longstanding rapport.
“We’re looking forward to the injuries,” said Johnson. Ahmed provided a beatboxed dramatized music bed crescendoing as Johnson concludes, “Yeah, I’m expecting to win.”
Kamil Johnson and Kasib Ahmad, Jr, will represent Philadelphia during the 30th Annual Limerick Cup Soccer Tournament at the University of Limerick, Ireland, July 20-28, 2019.