Soccer has been a unifying force, bringing together communities across diverse backgrounds. However, within this space, the Black American community’s presence and opportunities have not always been as pronounced. The Black Star Initiative is set to change that narrative, paving the way for a more inclusive and diverse soccer landscape in America.
Black Star’s mission is clear: to facilitate every aspect of the soccer journey for aspiring Black players, coaches, and professionals while building a sense of community through the celebration and amplification of Black soccer culture.
One of the integral components of this initiative is the HBCU Soccer ID Camp, a groundbreaking opportunity for Houston-area youth players to be scouted by HBCU coaches and other esteemed program scouts.
To delve deeper into the vision, mission, and upcoming events of the Black Star Initiative, the Defender spoke with Patrick Rose, the director behind this transformative soccer program. Rose shares insights into the driving force behind Black Star, the impact it aims to make on the soccer community, and the exciting HBCU Soccer ID Camp set to take place in Houston.
Defender: Why is this soccer event happening in Houston and what can people expect this weekend?
Patrick Rose: When it comes to soccer, it hasn’t gained the same popularity in Black communities as other sports like football or basketball. Despite being the world’s most popular sport, American soccer is predominantly associated with white suburban areas due to limited access. Our goal is to provide opportunities for the game to grow, especially considering HBCUs with soccer programs. We aim to create a platform for kids to access scouts, colleges, and professional teams like the Dynamo and Houston Dash. The HBCUs ID camp is crucial for providing exposure to elevate both the players and HBCUs. Additionally, the Community Pickle event on Friday aims to build a sense of community and make soccer a regular part of Black culture.
Defender: Can you explain Black Star’s role in cultivating Black players interested in soccer? What does Black Star?
Rose: Black Star is a program that launched about two years ago. It focuses on growing athletes within the Black community, both on and off the field. Our programming spans across five cities: Houston, Los Angeles, Washington DC, Detroit, and New York. We primarily offer youth clinics, talent camps, and community pickups. Besides on-field activities, we emphasize content and storytelling, sharing Black soccer experiences from youth to professionals globally. We also cultivate off the field through fan experiences, merch, and engaging in fashion and culture. In essence, Black Star is a multidimensional program and brand.
Defender: Why did you choose Houston?
Rose: We look for cities with significant Black and youth populations, along with like-minded partners. Houston Dynamo has been a supportive partner for the past two years. Additionally, the South is home to many HBCUs, aligning with our goal of serving a large population. The location of schools and partnerships played a crucial role in selecting Houston.
Defender: For those unfamiliar with events like this, what can attendees expect over the weekend?
Rose: We have two events planned. On Friday, we have a Community Pickup event targeting adults interested in soccer. This fun evening in downtown Houston includes food, music, drinks, and pickup games. It’s an opportunity to enjoy soccer, connect with like-minded individuals, and be part of a vibrant community. On Saturday and Sunday, we have the HBCU ID Camp, a dynamic event offering training sessions, free play, and exposure to college soccer opportunities. A College Soccer Q&A, DJ spinning, player appearances, and more make it a full weekend of soccer. It caters to high school-aged boys and girls, providing exposure and scouting opportunities. It’s a chance for kids of all levels to be seen and have fun, contributing to the growth of soccer within Black communities.
Defender: Is there any additional information our audience should be aware of?
Rose: Registration is still open for both events. The Community Pickup event is on Nov. 17 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Pitch 25, downtown Houston (2120 Walker St., Houston, 77003). The HBCU ID Camp is for high school-aged boys and girls over the weekend at Houston Sports Park (12131 Kirby Dr., Houston, 77045).
For more details, attendees can follow us on social media at Black Star Soccer or visit our website at blackstarsoccer.com.