Raleigh, NC – In January 2014, CASL set off on a year-long journey to celebrate its 40th year of serving the youth and families of Wake County. This landmark year would not have happened without the continued support of families and corporations within this great community. Part of the celebration included launching a community relations arm of CASL to demonstrate its mission of being a committed community partner in improving the quality of life in Wake County, both on and off the field.
“With the help of our members, we are pleased to say that we achieved our goal of executing 40 different community relations/service efforts to support our community that has supported us for so many years,” said Gary Buete, CASL Chief Executive Officer. “Most importantly, during this year, we found ways and built relationships that will give us a sustainable avenue to be a good neighbor in our community.”
The 40th year is bookended by CASL’s charity 4v4 community soccer event. It was only fitting that we end the year of celebration just as we began it with the CASL Play 4Kay 4v4. Each year, 70 teams registered to play in this 100% charitable, single day event which benefited the Kay Yow Cancer Fund and their mission to end women’s cancers. With the help of referees who donated their time, our generous sponsor TriSure, and the many players who supported this tournament, CASL gifted a total of $20,000 to the Kay Yow Cancer Fund.
In between the 2014 and 2015 CASL Play 4Kay charity events, CASL found ways to use youth soccer as a platform for awareness and community impact. Sometimes these efforts were driven from the club, while other times, our players and teams took initiative to serve our community.
CASL helped bring awareness to women’s heart health, hunger, malaria, cancer, club foot, drunk driving, motor neuron disease, literacy, ALS, and more. Many community groups were bringing attention to these causes, and we provided our youth soccer membership as an avenue to help spread the word. In many cases, teams were formed from the CASL community to participate in events that also helped raise money for these causes like the Susan G. Komen walk for a cure, the Magnificent Mile Race, and Walk like MADD. Other times, we capitalized on social media trends. For example, many of our teams and coaches participated in the viral ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, which helped raise awareness for ALS and funds to support needed research into the disease.
Many of our initiatives this year were targeted at growing the game of soccer to youth from underserved communities through equipment donations and free soccer clinics. We were able to donate new and gently used gear to youth soccer groups, both locally and internationally, who are trying to grow the game and use soccer as a means to teach positive life skills. Through these efforts, CASL has helped grow the game in Africa, Liberia, Nicaragua, and Haiti, as well as our own backyard through Boys and Girls Programs and partnerships with local community groups and schools.
Finally, many of our 40 efforts provided a tangible benefit to an individual or group in our community. We hosted a food drive which resulted in 306 lbs of food and needed items for the Food Bank of Central and Eastern NC. One of our young CASL teams collected items to make Christmas stockings for the Salvation Army of Wake County, while another team collected books to donate to Read and Feed. Through a t-shirt exchange with our members, we also made a clothing donation to the Helping Hand Mission.
We look forward to continuing our efforts in being a committed community partner. We are thankful to our players, families, coaches, and staff who all came together to bring this anniversary year to life. While we as soccer players always celebrate our goals scored on the field, we are proud of our assists this year made in the community.