'Soccer Warm Up Weekend' raises money for American Red Cross
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WEDDINGTON, N.C.--As the Charlotte-region Red Cross keeps its eyes on Isaac's path, more than 800 kids spent their weekend playing soccer to help the organization. This weekend was the fourth annual "Soccer Warm Up Weekend" in Weddington and the money raised goes to the Red Cross local disaster relief.
"It's just a great fun event. Soccer with a cause. They're playing soccer, having a good time, getting their teams warmed up, and making money for the American Red Cross,” said Sheila Crunkleton, community chapter director for Union and Anson counties.
As the soccer season kicks off, this annual event does more than just give the 73 teams a chance to get some extra practice in.
"It's a good opportunity for us to realize there's a lot more in the world than just this game. It's good for the parents to see everything and see the Red Cross banners and come and help with the blood drive. And it's good for the kids to realize that soccer's going to end at some point and we've got to do more for the community than just be soccer players,” said Derek Harrell, director of coaching for Wesley Chapel Weddington Athletic Association.
The event benefits the American Red Cross. They say it helps first, just to raise awareness.
"They know us for those national disasters, they know us for blood drives, but they may not know what we do locally,” said Crunkleton.
But with an estimated $15,000 coming in thanks to the event, they say it'll help for what they respond to the most – local house fires. In Union County alone, the Red Cross responded to 53 house fires last year.
"Money is always needed. Funds are always tight. You're always having to be prepared to respond, and we want to always be able to be there for people when they're in need,” said Crunkleton.
And while the coaches want to teach these kids the best techniques on the field, they say it's just as important to teach them good skills for off the field as well.
"We're trying to just set these kids up for more than soccer and understand it's a lifelong of giving and helping,” said Harrell.
On Saturday, the Red Cross also hosted a blood drive as a part of the soccer warm up weekend. They collected more than 20 units of blood, which will help save about 60 lives.