Yroswell Kicking Cancer Soccer Tournament
The Yroswell Kicking Cancer Tournament grew from my own experience with cancer. My father was diagnosed with Myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) and my grandparents also had cancer, but I was so young at the time that I didn't fully understand what was happening.
When my father was diagnosed I was overcome with a feeling of helplessness. There have been many, too many, families within the Western New York soccer community and the WNY Flash Soccer Club that have had their own experiences with fighting cancer.
Knowing that we all shared a common experience and a desire to help, I spoke to a friend who had a long history with Roswell Park to see what we could do to give back. From there, I learned about Yroswell and the idea for the tournament grew.
Yroswell is a program at Roswell Park that encourages students to get involved in the fight against cancer. Their mission and my vision for the tournament shared many common factors:
- Raise awareness about cancer and prevention.
- Create an avenue to empower young players if they are ever put in the same situation I was in.
- Educate young players about different careers.
- Show players that they can support the fight against cancer by fundraising and supporting those in their community.
- Promote exercise and healthy living.
The tournament has gained great support from soccer players and families all over the WNY area. The tournament is open to players ages 8 and up, with an open age group being introduced this year with the hopes of increasing the outreach to college aged players in the area.
Games are played on smaller fields rather than a full field, allowing an increase in activity and number of goals scored, both promoting enjoyment of physical exercise and high-action moments. We have had teams made up of friends from different clubs who come together to play at the tournament, teams that are together year round, and teams of players who meet on the day of the event, working together and building friendships through the tournament.
In addition to the games, the tournament offers face painting, foam dart battles, skills competitions, soccer-tennis, giveaways, a basket raffle and lawn games. Each year we look to add something that is fun and memorable for the participants.
This year the tournament will be held at West Seneca Soccer Complex on Saturday, June 29th. You can register for the tournament at www.WNYFLASH.com or by emailing me, Regan Steele at RSteele@WNYFlashSoccer.com.