Birmingham police were called to the scene of an impromptu youth soccer match to break up the game and disband the “trespassing” players. Instead of stopping the fun, however, the officers let loose and joined in.
Officer Jordan Burke and his partner were dispatched last week to the source of a “disturbance,” which turned out to be a group of kids playing soccer on a local tractor equipment company’s property. Burke said that the police department regularly receives calls from a resident who demands that police send the children, ages six to 10, away from the area. However, workers at the tractor company have made it clear that the children are welcome to use the property as a makeshift soccer field.
The 25-year-old officer aims to promote good police relations with the local kids, telling local NBC affiliate WVTM, “Our chief says serve with ethics, honor and excellence, and if this is all I can do then I’ve done a pretty good job. We want our kids to run to us, not from us.”
Globally, 25 million kids play soccer every year. However, some small towns are simply not equipped to sponsor a youth soccer league.
Officer Burke told local Fox affiliate WBRC that the local kids in this area of Birmingham “don’t have a playground here and the nearest playground is near the high school, which is a couple miles away. This is too far for these young guys to walk. Ethically, I can’t tell children to stop playing.”
Burke went on to explain that there is “not much out there for them to do. There are a lot of burned-out buildings, and I’d rather them be playing soccer in a parking lot than playing in a burned-out building.”
The police officers are working to procure some better soccer equipment for the kids to use. Sixth-grader Chuy Cardenas said that he and his friends appreciated their new opponents, who now stop by regularly to play a game during their free time.