8 years ago, some of the young gents in my class and older at Drake started a summer soccer league that reached out to the inner city of Des Moines. They hosted practices and games at a park  that has seen several shootings, gang activity, not to mention more than its fair share of drug exchanges. But, despite these challenges to safety and well being, everyone has come to know The Pink Shirt Brigade (as I've just dubbed them for our purposes today). Policemen who know the area like the back of their own hands know that all the coaches and volunteers with this soccer league wear bright, flashy (and dare I say it?) fashionable, pink shirts with the Central City Soccer logo on the front. Even as I drove up to the park, a lady asked me if there would be pictures that day--the entire neighborhood knows that if it's summer and if it's a Saturday, it's Central City Soccer time!

I had to take one post here on the blog and dedicate it to these cuties, because really, how could I not show you these faces?!


Then, sadly, our progress was hindered by this: Thanks for the message, Siri.

We quickly went from beautiful, natural lighting to needing flash for the very last team photo before the clouds burst open to this:

90 minutes later, we were back to this:

And the Pink Shirt Brigade went back to work!  Because our original location (against the brick wall) was now in direct light, we went for a more "exotic" look with the park's fountain and found the spot under the shade of some trees.

And yes, my trusty assistant/student photog, Faith, was by my side throughout the whole adventure. :)

We even had some team mascots make an appearance as only puppy rotweilers do:

Thank you Central City Folks for having me and a special thanks to the Pink Shirt Brigade-you guys are doing a fabulous thing in the inner city!