Monday, August 11, 2014

CASL 40th Anniversary: CASL Teams Host School Supply Drive

It's been a while since my last blog update. The month hiatus was primarily due to my personal life developments. I was married in July so was gone for a good chunk of the summer (if you see Eberhardt come across your email - it's from me!). However, now that I'm back in the swing of things, I'm looking forward to more frequent blog updates and informally sharing with you the happenings at CASL.

This year, CASL entered a landmark year. CASL officially turned 40 in March , and we've been celebrating all year long. Most of our celebrations have come in the form of soccer specific and soccer-related service activities. It has been our goal of this anniversary year to show how we are living our mission in everything that we do both on and off the field. In case you have never taken notice, here is our mission statement:

The mission of CASL is to provide positive and high-quality instructional and competitive youth soccer opportunities at all levels of play that enhance character, community and the love of the game for a diverse membership of children ages 4-18 and their families across Wake County and to serve as a community partner in improving the quality of life in Wake County. 

The 40th Anniversary efforts have focused on the latter half of our mission: "...to serve as a community partner in improving the quality of life in Wake County". We want to show that CASL and youth soccer in general can be a platform for awareness, change, or action. As an organization, CASL has hosted events like the CASL Play 4Kay 4v4, which was a 100% charitable soccer tournament to benefit the Kay Yow Cancer Fund. With your help, we raised more than $14,000 to support their mission of ending cancer. We also hosted a food drive that generated more than 300 meals for the Food Bank of Central and Eastern NC. We've hosted and participated in other events and community outreach efforts that have supported our community organizations including Inter-Faith Food Shuttle, Ronald McDonald House of Durham, Haven House Services of NC, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, and more. For a full list of our efforts, click here. 

'01 CASL Red Ladies


CASL Teams Donate School Supplies


U10G Black North CAYA
What makes us most proud, though, is our teams who take initiative on their own to make an impact in our community. This trickle down effect is powerful and will expand the reach that our youth soccer platform can have. Most recently, two of our teams, the U10G Black North CAYA team and the '01 CASL Red Ladies classic team hosted a team school supply drive to benefit Hope House Inc. located in Wake Forest. Each team spent time gathering and preparing school supply donations for Hope House. To help kickstart their collection efforts, CASL donated school folders and pencils to be distributed through the collection. We also wanted to recognize both teams for "making assists on and off the field" with 40th Anniversary CASL t-shirts.  Thanks to both teams for being role models in our community and for helping make a difference!

Monday, June 23, 2014

CASL heads to Ronald McDonald House of Durham

On Wednesday, CASL staff will join a few generous CASL families who signed up to volunteer at the Ronald McDonald House of Durham (RMH-Durham). We will be baking brownies and cookies for the families who are staying at the house. It is our goal as an organization to live our mission and be a committed community partner.

If you don't know about the Ronald McDonald House network, here's some insights:
  • the Ronald McDonald House offers a comforting home away from home and a community of support for seriously ill children and their families
  • The RMH-Durham has been operating since 1980
  • RMH programs provide families with private bedrooms, community spaces, home-cooked meals and a stocked kitchen, a playroom, and a computer room and laundry facilities.
This is a timely opportunity for CASL considering a local McDonald's co-op is sponsoring CASL's Friendship Cup this weekend. McDonald's is a generous corporate community partner which is proven by their long history of support for the Ronald McDonald House Charities.

Team Becky: Walk like MADD
This volunteer effort is just one of the many efforts CASL is having in our community. Our 40th Anniversary motto is to "make assists both on and off the field." So far this year, we've made nearly 30 "assists" in our community through various efforts. Below is a list of many of the organizations we have helped in our community through promotion, activation at our facility, volunteer support, and fundraising: 
  • Inter-Faith Food Shuttle: BackPack Buddies Program and Grocery Bags for Seniors Program
  • Kay Yow Cancer Fund: Over $14,000 raised to support breast cancer research and programming
  • Haven House Services, Inc: FREE soccer clinics to youth in the programs
  • Susan G. Komen Foundation: CASL team and staff participated in the event to support breast cancer reserch
  • Walk like MADD: CASL supported TEAM BECKY, who was walking in honor of Becky DeNardis - a former CASL player tragically lost her life to a drink driver in March
  • H.A.N.D.S: 291 lbs of gently used soccer gear donated to Helping Haiti and Soccer
  • Jimmy V Foundation: CASL donated a gift/raffle basket for Red and White Soccer Classic hosted by NC State Students
  • Go Red for Women: CASL promoted and help make our membership aware of the risk for women and heart disease
  • Nessie Foundation: Through CASL's soccer community outreach, youth living in Parrish Manor community were given the opportunity to participate in free soccer clinics
  • Wake County Public School System: CASL hosted after-school clinics for students at Forestville Elementary, Brentwood Elementary, and Hodge Elementary - all schools who have high volume of youth on free and reduced lunch. 
  • WolfPack Backs Pinkerton Clinic: Through promotion and attendance, CASL supported the free clinic hosted by NCSU, which helped raise funds and support Ben Pinkerton, former CASL coach who is facing the toughest battle of his life against cancer
  • NC Museum of Life and Sciences: CASL staff meeting held off-site at the museum, which supported the Friends of the Museum
  • CASL Golf Tournament: raised funds to support CASL scholarships, community outreach, facility improvements, and coaching education/retention
  • Comfort Zone Camps: two CASL players participated in the Beach to Battleship half-marathon in support of Comfort Zone Camps, which is a bereavement camp for grieving children. CASL promoted the event and the camp
  • Boys and Girls Clubs: CASL's mascot, Cleats, added to the excitement at no charge for the spring Carnival at the Raleigh Boys and Girls Club
  • Agua Viva Orphanage: CASL provide soccer balls and equipment to a mission trip headed to Guatemala 
  • American Cancer Society CASL donated Davis Drive Park field space to a Relay for Life event to help raise funds and awareness for American Cancer Society
  • YMCA: Cleats passed out pencils and interacted with the kids during soccer week at the YMCA of the Triangle at no cost to the community non-profit organization
  • MiracleFeet: through on-site activation, flyers to families, and social media, CASL has promoted and supported MiracleFeet's "socks" campaign, which supports club foot correction in underserved countries
  • Raleigh Parks and Recreation: CASL's soccer communtiy outreach programming offers free soccer programming to youth involved in community centers around Raleigh including Peach Road and Method Road
  • Special Needs Population: through HEART, CASL provides a free soccer program for youth with intellectual disabilities. The program has grown over the years and the players engage in 8 practices each season. This year, games were incorporated and three teams will be participating int the Friendship Cup
  • CASL Community Outreach at Raleigh
    Parks and Rec Facility
  • Friendship Cup: CASL's Friendship Cup is a free, single day tournament for youth from underserved communities to play soccer in a safe, inclusive environment (set for Saturday, June 28)
Thanks to everyone who has supported our 40th Anniversary campaign. We are halfway through the year and well on our way to exceed our goal of engaging in 40 unique efforts in our community. If you have ideas or opportunities for CASL to support a community effort or organization, please let us know by email katharine.kelley@caslnc.com 


Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Hamilton Sportsmanship Award Night

by Rachel Harris, CASL Intern

More than 400 CASL players were recognized during halftime of the Carolina RailHawks game on Saturday, May 31. This represented our largest showing to date for the awards night at the RailHawks game, with nearly two-thirds of all winners being present at the game and overflowing the CASL Tower. We had to spill over into neighboring sections to accommodate all of the winners, their families, and the many coaches who came to support these outstanding players. 
thanks @jlavender24 for the picture of your players and their awards!

waiting for the masses
This past Saturday night, we celebrated the CASL Hamilton Sportsmanship Awards Night, presented by Dick’s Sporting Goods, as the Carolina RailHawks took on the Tampa Bay Rowdies. The night was a complete success as more than 400 CASL Hamilton Sportsmanship Award winners came to pick up their certificate and souvenir items pre-game and participated in the halftime parade. 

Halftime parade of champions
Cici's Pizza donated 100 pizzas to the night
As a server of FREE pizza (thanks to CASL sponsor CiCi’s pizza for donating 100 pizzas!) at our CASL tent during pre-game festivities, I was lucky enough to hear a lot of positive feedback from parents on the night. Several parents thanked us for making the night special for their child and emphasizing the importance of sportsmanship, a core value of CASL. We would like to specially thank Dick’s Sporting Goods and WakeMed Health and Hospitals whose sponsorship of this award helped make the event special for these children. CiCi's Pizza also helped add value to the night by providing FREE pizza to all the winners and their guests.

Each Sportsmanship Award winner received a free ticket to the RailHawks game, an official Hamilton Sportsmanship Award certificate, a CASL/Dick’s Sporting Goods folder, a CASL “Good Sport” wristband, CASL pencils, a Dick’s Sporting Goods coupon, and a CiCi’s Coupon. Cleats, CASL's mascot, was on hand to help congratulate each of the winners. We also had a large representation of CASL staff, coaches, and board members who were all present to help celebrate these good sports.

The Hamilton Sportsmanship Award is named for Dr. Pat B. Hamilton, who greatly assisted the process of establishing and developing youth soccer in Raleigh and North Carolina. His daughter, Cindy Hamilton, attended this Spring 2014 Hamilton Night, and has consistently attended our past Hamilton Award Nights, to help perpetuate the spirit of sportsmanship in CASL and youth soccer. 

Check out a list of all of this year’s winners HERE

Monday, May 19, 2014

#CASLpride

#CASLpride

Thanks to everyone who participated in our first ever #CASLpride social media initiative. We received tons of pictures from many of you showcasing your CASL pride. Our goal is for this hashtag to carry on throughout the summer, into the fall, and beyond? When you are traveling this summer, we'd love to see where you can represent CASL. Are you going to the beach? Going on a trip to Italy? Or road tripping around the country with your family? Wherever you are going, be sure to tweet us pictures and let us know "where in the world is CASL?" 

I finished my CASL career over a decade ago, but I am definitely still proud to be a CASL alum. I have my state cup champion shirts from 1998, that I STILL where. So, I'll be sure to show my pride when I'm out and about this summer. Just because the season may be over, doesn't mean our connection to each other has to stop. You are always a part of CASL year round, and we are proud of that. Show us your #CASLpride all year long!

Here are a few of the pictures that came through the #CASLpride initiative. Be sure to follow us (@CASLnc) on twitter and stay in touch over the summer. 










Thursday, May 1, 2014

CASL Families Donate 306 Pounds of Food and Needed Items to the Food Bank

A few weeks ago, we held a week long Food Drive to benefit the Food Bank of Central and Eastern NC. We held the kick-off out at WRAL Soccer Center one Thursday night, where CASL players and parents came to donate food and needed items to the drive. In exchange, each donor was offered a 40th Anniversary commemorative t-shirt (sponsored by Pet Mania) to showcase how they are "making assists both on and off the field". 

 Jim Wright, CASL's U15-U18 Girls Program Director, kicked off our food drive by dropping his own food donations into the bins. Car load by car load, and player by player, our bins started to fill up. People even came out of their way just to participate! One young CASL player was on her way to one of her many other commitments, a band recital, and had to swing through to drop off some food and a large box of infant diapers. Whether it was one can or a trunk full of bags, I am extremely grateful for the response of our CASL Community in response to the hunger needs of our community. The bins were left up for the remainder of the week at the Woman's Club Drive office and WRAL Soccer Center.
The trunk of my car on the way to the Food Bank! 


And, I am pleased to report that over the course of ONLY 6 DAYS, you all contributed to 306 pounds of food and needed items (toilet paper, paper towels, diapers, hygiene products) to the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina. This equates to 257 meals that we are providing those who face hunger in our community. THANK YOU for showing our community that CASL cares, and that together, we can help improve the quality of life in our community. When I dropped off the donation, the Food Bank expressed sincerest gratitude and was surprised by our accumulation! We will be doing other drives this coming year including a school supply drive, so keep an eye out! 
The weigh in: 306 pounds of food

Share your community events with us!


We are excited to continue providing opportunities this spring and summer for you to participate in 40th Anniversary campaign efforts. While we plan to create a sustainable service arm of CASL, this year is special as it is our 40th year. If you are participating in ANY community event, we want to know about. You can email me directly (katharine.kelley@caslnc.com) or you can tweet your service/community effort to us @CASLnc. I hope to be able to join many of you in your efforts, but if we can't, we can find another way to support if it's through awareness or giving you 40th Anniversary T-Shirts for your service team. Just ask! For example, I received a message from one of our CASL coaches who participates annually in the Walk like MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving). We will support this effort by alerting you all about this effort so you can rally around this cause if you choose or at least see what causes are special to our CASL families. 

Monday, April 21, 2014

CASL Photo Contest: Submit Photos until April 23

CASL Photo Contest: Winning picture will placed on billboard around Raleigh (**all others will be compiled and shared as honorable mentions**)

Beginning in early May, CASL will have billboard space around Raleigh promoting our club and the upcoming Fall season for about a month. In the past, we have turned to our photos we have collected throughout the season as options to use on the Billboard space. However, this year, we'd like to turn it over to YOU!
Billboard featured during the fall 2013


Do you have a picture that you think captures what CASL is all about? If so, we want to see them. You could have a team picture, action shot, candid shot of players or a team, or any other CASL motif picture. We know that with phones these days and many of you talented photography parents out there, many of you ahave captured so many intimate moments on the field that are worth a thousand words. These images should be shared with the thousands of drivers in Raleigh, and the families who ride in those cars.

If you have a picture that you think encompasses the mission of CASL, please send it directly to me: Katharine Kelley. Photo submissions will be accepted until noon on Wednesday, April 23. Submit today and perhaps your team could be featured above I-440, Capital Boulevard, or another main highway or road. Our location is not quite set in stone, but in the past we've been featured in key spots along I-440 in Raleigh and Capital Boulevard. 

Submit your pictures today! 

Friday, April 11, 2014

Sport Has the Power to Change the World

It's easy to get caught up in the day to day routine of school, work, practice, games, and juggling the many other family activities you have. However, have you ever stopped to think about the impact we can have as a Club of 8,000 plus families? School networks can span hundreds of people, but we have THOUSANDS. We can work together as teams on the weekend to win games, but if we work together as a team of 8,000 players, we could truly impact our community.

Nelson Mandela once said, "sport has the power to change the world." I believe this, and I believe that CASL can play a small part toward this global vision by using soccer as a platform for awareness and change.  
7Up: one of the CASL teams who participated in the 4v4
Those of you that participated in the CASL Play 4Kay 4v4 in January have already had a hand in our collective efforts of improving the quality of life of those in our community. Together, we raised more than $14,000 for women's cancer research and related programs through the Kay Yow Cancer Fund. Others of you have volunteered your time in our Community Outreach programs, like HEART, where you have provided a positive experience for youth in our community. If you've purchased a pair of MiracleFeet socks, then you are helping a child in another country correct club foot and have the opportunity to play soccer. Many of you showcase your generosity through donations during registration. You took advantage of the option to donate money to CASL's Goal Assist Fund, which helps open up the CASL experience to youth in our community who may not otherwise have it. There are countless other ways you all have showcased your willingness to give back to the community that has supported us for so many years. And, we know that you all do many things on your own time or as a team - so please share those experiences and stories with us! We are excited to provide opportunities throughout this year (and the many years to come) for you or your team to be involved in efforts to improve the quality of life in Wake County.

CASL Food Drive: April 10-16

Most recently, we launched the CASL Food Drive to benefit the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina. We kicked off the drive on Thursday night out at WRAL Soccer Center, and many parents, staff, and players came by to drop off food and other needed items (diapers, paper towels, toilet paper). We took 8 large boxes from the Food Bank for our drive, and nearly 3 of those are already filled only after one day of collecting. Those of you that came by yesterday received a 40th Anniversary commemorative t-shirt in exchange for you donation. We are planning to set up another major collection night out at WRAL so others of you have an opportunity to get a t-shirt - we'll keep you posted on those details. However, we are collecting food all week(end) at WRAL Soccer Center (bins are located at OSNC Building next to lost and found) and at the Woman's Club Drive CASL Office, so come by during our business hours (M, T, Th, Fr 12-5pm) and drop off food in exchange for a shirt! 
A few CASL players get their t-shirts after donating food
one full food drive bin!

 CASL Juggle-A-Thon: April 25 @6pm

While the food drive will have a local impact in our community, the Online Soccer Academy Juggle-A-Thon is meant to have a global impact. CASL participated in this juggle-a-thon many years ago, and we are bringing it back. Pledges that support the juggle-a-thon will 100% be supporting Nothing But Nets, a non-profit organization that provides malaria nets to children and adults in Africa. We'll be setting up a juggle-a-thon environment at Soccer Center with more details to come. In the mean time, you can go ahead and register as a juggler and start collecting your pledges!

CASL HEART: Spring Dates to Volunteer

Throughout this spring, CASL continues to host the HEART program for youth with intellectual disabilities. The program has grown to more than 60 registered youth participants. Practices take place on Saturday mornings at Davis Drive Park in Cary, and volunteers (individuals, teams) are welcome to be buddy players for each of the HEART participants.