In-between what promises to be a busy week for the College of Staten Island men’s soccer team, the unit found time to give back, spending time with fifth graders from Public School 21 on Staten Island, providing a free clinic for the many in attendance. Along with head coach John Tardy and assistant coach Christian Cuba, several Dolphins players were on hand. For Tardy, it was the perfect refresher after CSI’s 3-0 win over John Jay College yesterday, and before CSI’s showdown with Lehman tomorrow afternoon.

Located in Port Richmond, the PS 21 students were eager to greet the Dolphins bright and early this morning, and the CSI men ran clinics in dribbling, passing, shooting, and defense. The morning and afternoon was an educating one for teachers and pupils.

“Having a chance to work with youths in our community is a great experience for everyone,” said Tardy. “For our players it’s rewarding to see them having the ability to put smiles on kids’ faces and having them show them things that they’ve never seen or done before. It even opens up the possibilities for them wanting to get more involved with coaching in the future.”

The outing for the team is one of many community service projects Tardy and his unit commit themselves to each year. The team has visited a host of schools to deliver instruction through clinics and have worked with school enrichment and after-school programs in the past. For Tardy, the community service not only provided the team-building necessary for his team members while lending valuable insight to the community, but it sometimes a welcome break from the grueling physical demands of the season.

“It’s gets us away from the normal day-to-day activities we go through during the season on the field and also in the classroom,” commented the coach. “It’s nice for the men to get to work with us as coaches in a different environment, where the mood is laid back, fun, and rewarding.”

CSI Men’s Soccer community service ventures are just beginning. The unit has partnered with Project Hospitality to offer after-school tutoring services, as well as help with the organization’s food pantry and soup kitchen offerings this winter. This spring, the squad will also led itself to the Notre Dame Club of Staten Island’s Bread for Life campaign, aimed at collecting food donations for senior citizens, single parents, and victims of domestic violence.

The Dolphins will continue their season on Wednesday, hosting Lehman College at the CSI Soccer Complex at 4pm. The team will then travel to Randall’s Island this weekend for a date on Saturday with York College, at 12 Noon.