Forward Madison players coach and encourage young athletes

MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) -- Forward Madison FC players hit the field Tuesday afternoon to train and motivate young athletes.

Forward Madison FC player coaches through a drill on heading to young athletes.

The soccer club partnered with Madison Parks to host a clinic at Breese Stevens Field, coaching nearly 50 kids and teens on various techniques. The young athletes even had the chance to test out their new skills and face the professional athletes in a scrimmage, 50 to three.

For defender and midfielder Eric Leonard, this event was an opportunity to remember what it was like as a young athlete and give back.

"I think of it personally," Leonard said. "When I was their age, I always wanted to play professional soccer, and a chance to play against pros and to be in an environment where they actually play [would have been] a dream come true."

Julian Holtzman, who helped organize the event from the team, said that it was important for a new organization like Forward Madison FC to connect with the community.

"This effort is helping lead a coalition of a new generation of soccer players in Madison," Holtzman said. "That's really exciting for the team and the organization but also for the kids."

The event was free and welcomed athletes of all ages and skill levels.