After Michigan ODP tryouts last summer (2011), I stopped by a cool soccer shop in Canton MI. called Soccer World. I met up with owner, Dillon Sana, and we talked a little bit about Charity Ball. He seemed to be pretty jazzed about the project and said they would help us spread the word. Charity Ball has grown quite a bit since then.
A few weeks ago, I was on the other side of the state and thought it would be good to stop in and give him an update. Dillon and I talked for a little while. He mentioned that Soccer World supplies kits to Canton Celtic, a local youth premier and MRL club.
At the time, Soccer World was working on donating some backpacks to one of the Canton teams. On our way out the door, he made a phone call to Dan McEvily, (club manager for Canton Celtic) and pitched the idea of having the club get involved with Charity Ball on some level. At some point, Canton Celtic decided to make a contest out of Soccer World’s contribution. They decided to host a can/bottle drive for the boys & girls U13 and U14 teams. All the money raised from the drive would be donated to a charity of choice, and the team who raised the most money would receive the backpacks from Soccer World. Smart thinking!
In just one week, the girls U13 Black team raised $2,253.26 and won the contest! Altogether the U14 and U13 soccer teams raised $7,028.97. Do the math. That’s 702,897 cans. Amazing!
I talked to the U13 team manager, Lisa Melnick and she said, “As a mom, it was a rewarding experience to see my daughter working so hard to help other kids.” Lisa’s daughter Hailey (who plays on the girls U13 team) helped make it happen. “It was fun and a great bonding experience. The best part was knowing that the money we were raising would go to help kids in Africa,” she said. The girls were so glad they could help kids in disadvantaged situations by doing something as simple as collecting bottles for change.
I just so happened that both of our teams were playing in the same West Michigan tournament last weekend. It was the perfect place to meet up. The girls presented Charity Ball with a check and I presented them with some CB T-shirts, patches and decals.
Big thanks to: Soccer World, Dan McEvily, Bill Joker, Lisa Melnick, The Canton Celtic Youth Soccer Slub – especially the U14/U13 teams. Because of your efforts, several hundred kids in Africa will receive brand new soccer balls. The best part is yet to come. Stay tuned.