Upper St. Clair soccer team succeeds on 2 fronts
When Upper St. Clair residents pledged money to the high school boys' soccer boosters for every goal the varsity team scored this season, no one counted on the team setting a school scoring record and winning the PIAA Class AAA championship.
With 93 goals scored during the regular season and every soccer player in the school bringing in pledges, the club raised $40,000 — more than $430 per goal. Half of the money went to Light of Life Rescue Mission, along with about 500 bagged lunches the team packed on Saturday.
The pledge drive was the club's largest fundraiser, even with half the proceeds earmarked for charity.
“In the past, we've done some car washes, but this, we hit it out of the park,” booster club President Rob Mertz said. “It's by far and away the largest thing we've ever done in our organization, and we hope to continue it, expand it and do it again.”
With every player gathering pledges and half the proceeds promised to charity, commitments to the pledge drive quickly spread around the region, said Mertz, 46. Then the team's stellar on-field performance started turning those commitments into money for the club and the mission.
“When we went around, we were supposed to tell people that last year we scored 60 goals, and we won the state championship, so how much better can you get?” said Alex Ioli, 14, a member of the junior varsity team and one of the top three fundraisers.
Dominick Caruso, another top fundraiser, said he visited about 35 homes at the start of the season to solicit pledges. Most people pledged between 25 cents and $1 per goal, though one pledged $5 per goal.
“That was my aunt,” said Caruso, 17. “She was like, ‘You're bankrupting me!' ”
To go along with the monetary donation, the team packed lunches and delivered them to the mission. Mertz said the booster club's share of the funds will go toward transporting the team to games, buying equipment and paying for players to attend soccer camp.
“To see student athletes, who already have a lot of demands on their time... for them to take the time and think about the homeless and poor in Pittsburgh is such a great thing,” said Kate Wadsworth, spokeswoman for the Central North Side-based Light of Life.
It costs the mission about $2.34 to make a meal for one person. It runs emergency and long-term housing programs for men, women and children. Its annual budget is about $5 million.
“We live in a great community, and we've been very fortunate to be surrounded by everything we could need,” Caruso said. “There's nothing better than being able to give back while doing something you love.”
Matthew Santoni is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach him at 412-380-5625 or email@example.com.
Add Matthew Santoni to your Google+ circles.
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Archery hunting in Mt. Lebanon called off for now
- Decorated World War II veteran gets visit, gift from ex-Steeler
- Teens elevate Western Pa. communities with Eagle Scout projects
- Museum’s ‘Carnegie Trees’ exhibit shows ‘Winter Wonders’
- Mt. Lebanon history center project gets OK
- More fear ‘tackle’ football too risky for kids
- 50 years later, Vietnam vet gets his degree at Westminster
- eReader books also available to borrow at local libraries
- Young Achiever: Halley Koenemund
- Plush penguins for patients keep memory of Monroeville boy alive