By Avra Sullivan
Those are the confident words from the Director of Coaching for the BayShore Soccer Club, G.R Cannon. Speaking with him, Club President Jennifer Connoley and Fundraising Chair Courtney Howell gives quite a bit of insight into not only the sport and organization, but their for the youth involved.
BayShore soccer club is a traveling club consisting of 17 teams from the Eastern Shore area, divided according to age, from U8 (under 8) to U19 (19 and under). “We have probably close to 250 players currently”, says Jennifer. The club is active all but 3 months out of the year and they travel to many tournaments, both in state and nationally, and have been very successful. Cannon, who played professionally both in the U.S and Europe, and coaches the U15 and U17 teams, says that while the club is demanding and there are high expectations, they keep it fun as well. “The kids expect a lot of themselves. They have goals- many want to play in college.” he says. Traveling allows players, especially in the older divisions who wish to play collegiately, attend tournaments that may put them in front of college scouts. This level of playing also teaches life skills. Cannon, who nicknames himself the team psychologist, says the kids learn how to “deal with life through the sport. They learn that while life is difficult, if you believe in yourself and put your head down, you can accomplish anything.” The team also encourages community involvement. “Last December as a way to say thank you we hosted our first ‘Give Back Day’ and collected donations for Our Haven Shelter in Chester,” explains Courtney.
While exposing the players to a higher level of competitiveness, travel can produce high costs. This is where fundraising and sponsorship can come into play. “We want to be able to lessen the team fees, so that more kids can participate.” says Courtney, who has been helping with fundraising efforts for the past several years. In the past they have done dinner and breakfast collaborations with local restaurants as well as car washes, which they plan to do again in the fall. Businesses or individuals can sponsor either a specific tournament, or give a general tax-deductible donation. Scholarships are also another area they would appreciate donations. “They play regardless of how much money they have” says Jennifer, and a scholarship fund would help the club be able to insure that continues. They are also in need of a storage shed to help store equipment, uniforms, and other supplies.
The BayShore Soccer Club is open to any child or teen and tryouts are generally held twice a year. For tryout and event information you can contact Jennifer at firstname.lastname@example.org. For sponsorship and fundraising you may contact Courtney at email@example.com. You can also visit their website at www.bayshoresc.org