Spring is in the air, grass is beginning to peek through
lingering patches of snow, and many of us are just now venturing outside to
play again. But in athletic training facilities across the city, hundreds of
kids have been gearing up for their spring sports seasons for weeks now. Here,
young athletes participating in soccer, baseball, softball, swimming and track
and field tell us what they love about their chosen sport.
Aaron Seibert, 8
do you love playing soccer?
love soccer because I love to run around, score goals and do tricks.
advice would you give other kids who want to play soccer?
stare at the ball when you play because then you won’t see the other players.
Also, you have to work hard.
do you like playing for Super Soccer Stars?
like playing for Super Soccer Stars because of Coach Alex—he’s my favorite
coach. He gives me lots of practice and trains me really hard. He makes me do
the cone exercises where you have to run around to get the ball. He also
teaches me soccer tricks.
do you hope to go with soccer?
want to be a professional soccer player for a team. My favorite team is LA
heard you recently underwent foot surgery. How’s your recovery coming along?
just really want to run around!
Gabby Alvarado, 15
long have you been playing softball? What position do you play?
been playing for about six years. I play third base mostly.
do you celebrate a win?
all jump up and down, run into each other and hug each other and cheer. After
that we sit down and discuss the positives of the team.
advice would you give other kids who want to play softball?
would tell them to not give up even when you mess up, because mistakes are
mistakes, you learn to get better at it. And most importantly to always listen
to your coaches.
do you like playing with Harlem RBI?
free and the field is beautiful. The coaches always try their best to help you
improve, and they also offer to help you with your school subjects. I love my
teammates; they’re always there when I need them. It’s just a very friendly
impact has playing softball had on you?
taught me determination and perseverance and it’s given me so much confidence.
It’s encouraged me to try to do better at my school work, too, because my coaches
are not only strict about repeating plays and all that, but also about school.
Without school you can’t go anywhere.
Scott Miller, 11
long have you been playing baseball? What position do you play?
I was five years old; I’ve played 12 seasons. I play first base and pitcher. I
also play other infield positions.
do you love most about playing baseball?
like how it’s a team sport and I like the coaching and the opportunity to play
a lot of positions. I like to hang with the kids on my team and I love to play
advice do you have for other kids who want to play baseball?
play as much as possible so you can improve, and don’t worry about the position
you play as long as you’re playing and learning the game. Keep practicing.
goals do you have for this season?
want to improve hitting and be able to hit to all four parts of the field. I
want to learn how to pitch better from the stretch. Last year we didn’t have
leading and stealing so now that there is going to be leading, I have to learn
how to throw from the stretch.
you have a favorite baseball player?
favorite baseball player is Robinson Cano.
Isis Welch, 12
long have you been competing in track and field? What are your events?
been competing for the past five years. I do hurdles, long jump and sprints.
do you think about while you’re competing?
really don’t think about anything—I just go.
advice would you give other kids interested in track and field?
would tell them that it’s a great sport and if you do it for a while, you’ll
get the hang of it. There’s many events you can do, so there’s one that you’re
bound to be very good at.
do your coaches help you?
days they teach me how to go over the hurdles faster, or I do a lot of
sprinting. Other days it’ll be working on my long distance.
do you celebrate a win or a great track meet?
just think about I how I just won, or how I have another medal in my hands.
Oliver Jevtovic, 10
How did you become
interested in playing tennis?
I was playing soccer
and basketball before, and my parents liked to watch tennis on TV. I started to
watch with them, and then I wanted to play.
What’s your favorite
memory while playing?
When I won a USTA
tournament at the USTA National Tennis Center at Flushing Meadows. It was a
four-hour match in 95-degree weather. I was a set down but I came back and won
What advice would you
give other kids who want to play tennis?
They have to stay
strong and work hard. They also have to be very focused because, you know,
there’ll be times when you’ll have to miss things like birthday parties. They
should also enjoy the sport and have fun.
do you like playing with Sportime Randall’s Island?
like to see John McEnroe, the former No. 1 professional tennis player in the
world. He walks around watching us play and gives us advice. I like meeting the
directors and working with coaches because they all help me and give me advice
on how to improve my game.
Where do you hope to
go with your sport?
My main goal with
tennis is to be the No. 1 professional tennis player in the world. I want to
win grand slams. I’m staying focused and it’s going to happen one day.
Lydia Eguchi, 13; and Nadia Eguchi, 11
When did you
become interested in swimming?
Lydia: When I
was around six. I had to sacrifice other things in order to have more time to
swim, but I really loved swimming and I couldn’t give it up!
What is your
favorite swimming memory?
Nadia: When I
swam in a meet called the Big Swim at Asphalt Green, I got 1st place in the 25
free, out of all the seven-year-olds who swam. When I got out of the pool, I
grabbed the medal as the timer was trying to put it on me and put it on myself!
Afterwards I got a trophy, and I was really happy.
What do you love
most about swimming?
Lydia: I love to
get into the water. Even in the winter, when it’s cold, it feels really good.
Nadia: I love my
friends on the team. I also love swim meets; they’re fun and serious at the
What do you find
most challenging about swimming?
Lydia: I find it
really hard to be patient. It takes a while to get better. I try to fix
everything at practice, but sometimes it doesn’t work.
Nadia: At swim
practice, it’s difficult when I can’t keep up with the group when I’m tired. I
get very frustrated and sore. But I’m starting to get used to it.
would you give other kids interested in swimming?
patient and don’t think you failed when you think you didn’t do well. I try to
find out what went wrong and then I try to fix it at practice so the next time,
I do better.
Nadia: I would
say never give up. I’ve had some rough times swimming but I have never given up
and I’m so glad I didn’t.
Where To Play Sports In NYC
Armory Track and Field Center, 216 Fort Washington Avenue,
Asphalt Green, 555 East 90th Street, 212-369-8890,
Big City Volleyball, Multiple Manhattan locations, 212-288-4240,
Chelsea Piers, 63 Chelsea Piers, 212-336-6666,
dribbl and dribbl jr., Multiple Manhattan locations,
Fastbreak Kids, Multiple Manhattan locations, 212-724-FAST,
Generation D at Dasha Wellness, 115 East 57th Street,
Harlem RBI, 333 East 100th Street, 212-722-1608,
Kick and Play, More than 150 locations throughout the
Tri-State area, 212-877-5425, supersoccerstars.com
Kids In Sports, Multiple Manhattan locations, 212-744-4900,
Lil Sluggers, Multiple locations, 866-321-8221,
On Deck, Classes held at St. Jean’s Community Center (76th
and 3rd) and the Great Lawn in Central Park, 646-808-4926, ondeckny.com
Sheridan Fencing Academy, 1556 3rd Avenue, 212-831-0764,
Soccer By Coach Fher, Multiple Manhattan locations,
SocRoc, Various locations, 917-703-0409, jsocroc.com
SPORTIME at Randall’s Island, 1 Randall’s Island,
Super Soccer Stars, More
than 150 locations throughout the Tri-State area, 212-877-7171,
SwimJim, Locations throughout the city, 212-749-7335,