Doing It Right – How Will You Help?
Connecticut Junior Soccer Association and Eastern PA Youth Soccer recently raised over $20,000 for the Red Card Cancer (RCC). We salute this effort and celebrate its success. These states set the highest gold standard, and show all of us what can be accomplished while serving as great role models for our country’s youth players.
It was just a discussion among colleaguesthat motivated people to galvanize their organization to help fight cancer and give generously.
As we all know, Doing It Right starts with an idea and a vision. According to Josh Krusewski, Connecticut Junior Soccer Association (CJSA) Executive Director, “This began with Chris Branscome‘s vision of getting a number of us in a room at the United Soccer Coaches convention in Chicago last January simply brainstorming on how our platforms could do their part in helping find a cure.” Branscome is the CEO of Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer.
Two weeks after brainstorming, CJSA held its annual event and raised nearly $10,000, dispelling the belief that it takes months of planning to produce a successful fundraising effort.
“I am extremely proud of how our members, some rivals when playing the game, all came together for this common goal CJSA Executive Director.it certainly shows how powerful a community can be when working together,” said Josh Krusewski,
Connecticut then challenged the Eastern Pennsylvania Soccer Association to match or surpass their fundraising goals. Eastern PA rose to the challenge, and raised $12,000 for RCC!
“The statistics validate that pediatric cancer is the leading cause of death among children under the age of 19 in the U.S.,” said Christopher Moore, CEO of US Youth Soccer.
“When the largest youth sports community gets behind something, only good things can happen,” said James Pepe, Community Development Manager for the American Cancer Society – Northeast. “With the American Cancer Society, Red Card Cancer and the State Associations such as EPYS & CJSA working together, the money being raised specifically for research will save many lives throughout the world.”
“I am proud of the purpose-driven work that US Youth Soccer Member State Associations are doing to leverage the power of soccer within their respective communities to shine a spotlight on this dreadful disease and to raise funds to find a cure,” said Moore.
“We will continue to push this initiative and challenge other state associations,” said Krusewski.
“On behalf of all cancer patients, survivors and their families, I challenge all soccer organization’s in the country; state associations, national organizations, leagues, clubs colleges, and high schools,” says Branscome. “I can’t wait to hear who’s next.”
“What the members of our two state’s did is just scratching the surface,” said Branscome. “Someone out there can do better and beat our mark.”
What is Red Card Cancer?
Red Card Cancer (RCC) is on a mission. “A Cure Is Our Goal” is their motto. This organization raises money through the sport of soccer for organizations that are focused on cancer research including the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins University and the American Cancer Society.
Founded in 2009 on the campus of Bloomsburg University in Pennsylvania by Paul Payne who was inspired to create a memorial for his coaching mentor, Joe Bochicchio who lost his battle to the disease.
Payne has inspired others to get involved as he has rallied the soccer community together to make a difference.
“On behalf of everyone at Red Card Cancer, a huge Thank You to both CT Junior Soccer Association and our friends and longtime supporters at Eastern PA Youth Soccer,” said Payne.
“Our sport is a global game and unfortunately cancer is a global disease,” said Payne.
“The soccer community can do so much to support cancer research so that we all enjoy a healthy and long life These efforts highlight the grassroots efforts that can grow into a national cause. What Josh and Chris did was to take an idea and challenge their membership much like we, as coaches, challenge our players to give it their best. They gave it their best and rose above best to set the standard for others to follow,” said Payne.
“Together We Can Make a Difference.”
Now, with more $20,000 raised between two US Youth Soccer state associations, there is challenge floating around — what other states will step up and keep the money coming in for Red Card Cancer?
Just imagine the synergistic power of the states inspiring each other, competing to see who can help the most?
Here is What Happened:
While the official requests for donations at the door fell a little flat, an organic and almost viral effort took place at the Connecticut Junior Soccer Association annual President’s dinner.
Those attending, from Connecticut’s new USL team Hartford Athletic, to clubs, districts and individuals stepped up and pledged funds.
Connecticut Junior Soccer raised $9,500 for Red Card Cancer.
Krusewski was impressed with the states’ members. The former collegiate coach was proud of how those in youth soccer wanted to help donate to cancer research. “Most everyone in the room has been touched in some way by cancer, and all are committed to finding a cure,” said Krusewski.
— CT Junior Soccer (@CJSA) February 1, 2019
After Krusewski’s challenge, Eastern PA Youth Soccer collected donations at various events, including their Keystone Diamond Showcase and Directors of Coaching Summit.
The real push, however, came at the Eastern PA Youth Soccer Annual General Meeting on February 23 where the state’s youth soccer member leagues and clubs wrote checks or pledged money totaling more than $5,300.
“I’m grateful for the support of the membership in this cause,” said Branscome. “To see our soccer community come together is inspiring.”
Eastern PA Youth Soccer started working with Red Card Cancer and Payne seven years ago. Like so many others, Branscome’s family has been touched by cancer. Working with the Eastern PA’s Assistant Director of Coaching, Gary Stephenson, Branscome decided to create a signature program called Futbol Friday. It is a very simple idea, wear your favorite jersey, fight cancer.
“Two weeks after that meeting at the Convention, Josh called to say he was going to issue a challenge to his members at their AGM,” said Branscome. “He had incredible success out of the gate and he issued the challenge to Eastern PA. Our members came through narrowly beating Connecticut. Together we raised $22,000.”
“Cancer, unfortunately, touches everyone’s lives,” said Branscome.
“It affects family, friends, and co-workers and certainly has been no stranger to our soccer community,” said Branscome. “I thrilled that Connecticut joined Eastern Pennsylvania in supporting Red Card Cancer. I know that with the support of our fellow state associations and other soccer organizations, we make a significant difference in the fight against cancer.”
These are true examples of leadership and people Doing It Right. How Can You Help?
Here are the Connecticut Junior Soccer Clubs that contributed to Red Card Cancer:
Avon Soccer Club, Bethel Soccer Club, Bloomfield Soccer Club, Bristol Soccer Club, Canton Soccer Club, Central District / CJSA, Coventry Soccer Club, Connecticut State Referee Program, Danbury Youth Soccer, Fairfield Soccer Club, Hartford Athletic, Hartford Premier Developmental League, Litchfield Soccer Club, Meriden Soccer Club, Mr. David Brouillette, Mr. Joseph Conte – Joseph A. Conte Jewelers – CJSA President, Naugatuck Soccer Club, Northeast United, North Central District / CJSA, Northeast District / CJSA, Northwest District / CJSA, Norwalk Junior Soccer, Shoreline Soccer Club, Simsbury Soccer Club, South Central District / CJSA, Southeast District / CJSA, Southington Soccer Club, Southwest District / CJSA and West Hartford Soccer Club.