Thursday, February 20, 2020 -
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‘Kosher soccer’ league plays Sundays

The shomer Shabbos Soccer TeamIT all started at a Shabbat kiddush.

Jonathan Fishman, a local gastroenterologist, and Marc Avner, a local pediatrician, were lamenting over the fact that all of the youth soccer leagues in Denver have games on Saturdays.

“We were frustrated, because if you are Shabbat-observant and live in Denver, the options for our kids to play on a soccer team were very limited,” said Fishman.

The previous spring, Fishman coached his daughter’s soccer team through a local franchise that played on Sundays. But just after the season ended, the franchise closed its doors.

A Colorado native, Avner grew up playing competitive soccer and continues to play on an indoor adult league.

On that Shabbat afternoon, the two friends decided to combine their love of the game and their playing experience to create a soccer team for their children.

Along with the organizational abilities of their spouses, Kim Fishman and Melanie Avner, the Denver Kicks Youth Soccer League was born.

“We thought we would need at least 10 kids to make it work,” said Avner. “Now we have 32 enthusiastic team members and several on the wait list. The response has been incredible, so we are already planning for the spring season.”

EACH practice is followed by a 40-minute game, complete with referees and cheering parents on the sidelines.

Both practice and games take place on Sunday afternoons at Rosamond Park, located at S. Tamarac Dr. and E. Quincy Ave. in Southeast Denver.

The league is run entirely by volunteers, with Kim and Melanie handling logistics and communications.

Coaching alongside Avner and Fishman are Jodi Asarch and Rabbi Salomon Gruenwald, both of whom have extensive soccer experience and children playing with the Kicks.

Talia Halfon, a senior at Denver Jewish Day School, is an assistant coach.

Parents pay a fee to cover the cost of equipment, referees, uniforms and snacks.

“Golden Boot” awards are given to the kids throughout the season to recognize and encourage good sportsmanship, teamwork and cooperation.

Most of the team members, ranging in age from five to seven, attend local Jewish day schools.

Information: (720) 670-8036 or e-mail

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