Surrey United’s U18 Wildfire in a team photo. (twitter.com/SurreyUnitedSC)

Surrey United’s U18 Wildfire in a team photo. (twitter.com/SurreyUnitedSC)

SOCCER

Surrey team donates $17K they raised to play in big tournament, later cancelled by COVID

Four Surrey-area charties benefit from generosity of Surrey United’s U18 Wildfire

One Surrey soccer team decided to donate nearly $17,000 to charity after COVID-19 cancelled their plans to play in a tournament in Florida last summer.

The Disney Cup International event in Orlando was supposed to be a special “last hurrah” for members of Surrey United’s U18 Wildfire team in their final year of youth soccer.

“Our thought was to go out with a bang, to go to a big tournament at the end of it,” said head coach Darren Rossi. “They were going to spend almost a week there and wrap it all up nicely. This was like a carrot at the end of the whole thing, after years of playing together.”

Teen girls of the silver-division team raised the money over the previous 15 months, before the pandemic deflated their mid-July travel plans.

“Everything fell apart,” recalled Rossi. “It’s an international tournament, with teams from around the world. The big kick was they were going to carry the Canadian flag into the stadium. What an opportunity for them at an event like that. We had jerseys made up with the Canadian flag on them, you know. We were ready.”

When the pandemic dragged on, and it became clear the tournament wouldn’t take place in 2020, the team opted to give the $17,000 to select charities in Surrey.

With the team “retiring” and players entering into their young adulthoods, many moving on in different directions, the players voted that the funds should be donated to worthy causes to help give back to the community, Rossi said.

“We researched a bunch of charities, had multiple Zoom meetings and some votes, and it was decided to divide up the money to four charities, voted on by the girls,” the coach said. “Every girl got a vote about where their portion of the money would go, a share of the money. It was almost $900 per girl.”

In the end, $3,500 was given to the Surrey/White Rock chapter of KidSport BC, $6,175 to the Surrey-area BC SPCA branch, $3,500 to BC Cancer Clinic at Surrey Memorial Hospital, $875 to Surrey Food Bank, $500 to Surrey United’s Building Blocks program and the rest to a new Goal Diggers women’s team some of the players will rep next season.

(Story continues below tweet)

Rossi is justifiably proud of the girls he’s coached for five years.

“They did a lot of work to raise the money, no rock left unturned,” he said. “We did bottle drives, pub nights, a wine raffle. There were one or two fundraising events happening every month for about 15 months there. The moms stepped up and ran a fundraising committee. They were relentless with the fundraising.”

The coach said the team “was really tight” and had “an amazing culture” during its run in the last half of the decade.

“A lot of girls got selected to move up to higher divisions but declined, because they wanted to be on this team, to stay on this team,” Rossi said. “It was always about teaching them the sport and also looking forward to them continuing to play on into adulthood. So the team was almost more about making memories and bonding than about winning every Sunday, you know.”

In a series of tweets, Surrey United officials thanked the team for “representing the club and themselves incredibly well,” and for “taking a difficult 2020 and turning it into something special for so many others in our community. We are so proud of you!”



tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Tom on Twitter

Charity and DonationsGirls soccer

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Motorists breaking travel rules can be fined $230 for failing to follow instructions or $575 if the reason for travel violates the essential travel health order, at this Highway 3 check area near Manning Park. Photo RCMP
RCMP begin stopping drivers on BC highways – check point at Manning Park

Four check points are set up Thursday May 6 around the province

South Surrey nurse Brittany Williams has been involved with the Burn Camp since 2013. (Contributed photo)
Burn camp ‘really puts things in perspective,’ says South Surrey nurse

Brittany Williams’ experiences hoped to boost Hometown Heroes Lottery fundraiser

John Paul Fraser, executive director of the BC Salmon Farmers Association. (Screen shot)
Salmon farmers warn Surrey jobs on line as feds end Discovery Islands operations

344 full-time jobs at risk in Surrey and 1,189 B.C.-wide

Serena Deol, Jaspreet Deol, Madison Sweeney and Tanveer Pannu (pictured clockwise from top left) are Surrey United soccer players recruited to the University of Fraser Valley. (submitted photos)
Surrey United soccer quartet sign to play for UFV Cascades

Three of the university’s recruits are Panorama Ridge Secondary students

Dr. Bonnie Henry B.C.'s provincial health officer, updates the COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, April 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
Province ‘ramping up’ COVID-19 vaccination effort in hard-hit Surrey

‘Door-to-door’ registration program in the works, says Dr. Bonnie Henry

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O’Connell photo)
VIDEO: Workers, activists clash at site of Vancouver Island logging operation

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

Starting Tuesday, May 11, B.C. adults born in 1981 and earlier will be able to register for a vaccine dose. (Haley Ritchie/Black Press Media)
BC adults 40+ eligible to book COVID-19 vaccinations next week

Starting Tuesday, people born in 1981 and earlier will be able to schedule their inoculation against the virus

Parks Canada and Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Parks dig the washed up Princess M out from sand along the south shore of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Rescue attempt costs man his boat off Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

Coast Guard response questioned after volunteer responder’s speedboat capsizes in heavy swells

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Al Kowalko shows off the province’s first electric school bus, running kids to three elementary and two secondary schools on the West Shore. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
B.C.’s first electric school bus making the rounds in Victoria suburbs

No emissions, no fuel costs and less maintenance will offset the $750K upfront expense

The Aquilini Investment Group has agreed to a proposed contract of five years to run the Abbotsford Centre. (File photo)
Proposal to run Abbotsford Centre offered to Canucks ownership group

Planned five-year contract to cost city $750K annually, starting Jan. 1, 2022

Road sign on Highway 1 west of Hope warns drivers of COVID-19 essential travel road checks on the highways into the B.C. Interior. (Jessica Peters/Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. residents want travel checks at Alberta border, MLA says

Police road checks in place at highways out of Vancouver area

Victoria police say the photo they circulated of an alleged cat thief was actually a woman taking her own cat to the vet. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Photo of suspected cat thief released by Victoria police actually just woman with her pet

Police learned the she didn’t steal Penelope the cat, and was actually taking her cat to the vet

Most Read