The Kickin’ it Challenge event that helps bring youth soccer teams together and support the fight against breast cancer was once again a success this past weekend. There were more than 120 teams from all over the state, ages 7 to 18 with an equal number of boys and girls, who were all in alignment with the theme of the event – wearing pink in their uniforms, in their gear, their hair, and even the goals, field lines and corner flags were painted to match the theme. Trophies were awarded for the victorious teams as well as those who wore the most pink to celebrat the spirit of the event.
This three-day soccer tournament has raised over $100,000 since it’s inception in 2012 and this year their goal was to raise an additional $50,000. The final count is still being calculated at the time of this writing but it looks like the goal will be exceded. In addition to the tourament, this year the event includes a Gala Bash with dinner, beer/wine, a DJ to rock the house, and a Silent Auction.
Simon Little, a coach from Cambridge, England with the British Soccer Camps, commented on the event as this is the first time he has visited San Diego as well as the first time he attended this event. When asked about his experience so far, he says: “Well, everyone showed up, it seems like a lot of fun, everyone is having a good time. It’s colorful, which I think helps to support and promote the cause. So I think it’s great, it’s good fun for everybody. It’s a great thing because obviously it attracts families and players of all ages. As a coach I want to see players playing soccer, so it’s nice to arrange something like this. You can bring all your family too, and some of the younger ones who haven’t played before. If you have tournaments where its all very competitive, sometimes I think that can be a little intimidating for kids, when you have something where its literally just about using sports for good causes, that’s something very positive. Obviously some people play sports for competitive reasons, but at this age you are playing sports for fitness, for making friends, for your athleticism and all these other reasons that aren’t necessarily about winning the game, and this event promotes that. Youth sport should be about enjoyment.” – Simon says.
Deanna Tritthart, who is a parent of an AYSO Dante Extra U11 girls’ player, also said this is the first time for the Extra U11 girls in this event. Some of the reasons why they liked the tournament included the “Good facility, well organized, it’s for a good cause, breast cancer, or any type of cancer is always a good cause when you are doing something like that.” As far as their favorite venues “Cone Ice is always good when it’s a hot day here in Escondido. The chiropractic also has been helping a lot of girls out, so that was really great to get some help from him. You can do a little bit of soccer shopping and playing as well.”
Another parent from San Marcos Revolution U15 girls said they participated because “It’s for a good cause and awareness. Anytime you can help for a good cause, that’s always a bonus.”
Harold Ryden has been participating in the tournament since the event was created. He told us, “I have been in a lot of tournaments, this one is by far my favorite”, “I love the whole idea, it’s a fundraiser. But you also get a lot of talent here”, “It’s just all around fun, they got all the venues here,” “People come out and set up their stuff, it’s like a huge family.” When talking about the difference in vibe compared to a regular tournament, “There’s still the competitiveness there, but it’s a friendly competitiveness.”
All of the donations and proceeds went to Susan G. Komen Foundation in San Diego, which is the largest funder of breast cancer research in the world, to provide services and help women fight breast cancer. This disease affects one in eight women in the U.S. and that is one of the reasons why so many people want to participate in this event. We hope the success of Kickin’ It Challenge continues so players can play, have fun and ultimately we can all help support the main cause of fighting against breast cancer.