Mexican soccer star Rafa Marquez coached about 30 New York City boys and girls during a clinic at Riverbank State Park in Harlem.

The New York Red Bulls midfielder spent two hours giving the kids tips on handling the ball at Tuesday's clinic, which was organized by his foundation.

"We do this to support the kids in the city of New York, trying to share this opportunity with the kids of Harlem is a fun time," Marquez, a former Barcelona player, said.

Marquez, who congratulated Mexico's Olympic soccer team via Twitter for coming back from a deficit and beating Japan 3-1 to advance to the final, said clinics were important because they gave children an opportunity to have fun and learn about a sport that was "very healthy" for their development.

The foundation has been providing funds for seven years to help disadvantaged children, operating nutrition centers in Mexico as part of its "Nutrition, Education and Sports" campaign, Marquez said.

The Rafa Marquez Foundation receives support from the New York Red Bulls, among other donors.

The team is giving fans the option of donating $4 to the foundation when they buy tickets for the Aug. 19 match against Portland.

More than 700 children are served by the centers in Tonala and El Salto, located in the western Mexican state of Jalisco, and in Zamora, a city in the western state of Michoacan.

The centers help promote child development and improve the quality of life of children. EFE