Different Teams Have The Same Goal
Despite a sea of colored jerseys at the Northport Cow Harbor United Soccer Columbus Weekend Tournament, which drew more than 350 teams from across the country, there was a contagious sense of unity shared between the players—in the form of bright pink socks.
Priced at $10 a pop, pairs of pink socks could be seen across the 70 different soccer fields used to host the annual tournament throughout Northport and Huntington.
Celebrating its 25th year, the tournament, the largest of its kind in the northeast, for the last two years has raised money for the Carol M. Baldwin Breast Cancer Research Fund to help battle cancer.
Board Director Margaret Fullam said the decision to enhance the event by incorporating a charitable aspect was an ideal opportunity to bring the event to a “higher purpose.”
In light of National Breast Cancer Awareness month, which falls every October, board members unanimously agreed to contribute and raise awareness for the cause.
“It’s an ideal month to make this a golden opportunity for us to somewhat educate our children and bring the tournament to a higher purpose,” Fullam said.
Teams from across the United States and Canada participated in the event, which also received recognition from Santa Barbara, Calif., in the form of a YouTube video from actor Billy Baldwin.
Baldwin, vice president of the Downstate Chapter and son of Carol Baldwin, thanked players and the Northport community in a minute and a half video message that since Tuesday, has received close to 800 views.
“I thank you from the bottom of my heart,” Baldwin said in the clip. “It’s a wonderful idea; it’s awesome you want to instill this value to kids of the community to be of service, pay it forward and give something back.”
Jennifer McGraw, who helped market the national event, said Baldwin was “genuine” and extremely willing to help promote the event, which last year raised $32,000 for the foundation.
The soccer club, McGraw said, donated $25 for every team that registered to play in the tournament this year and, coupled with extensive pink sock sales, private donations, raffles and more, the organization expects to raise over $30,000 this year.
Players from the Cosmos and Red Bull soccer teams also came to the event, drawing crowds, fans and $5 photo ops, proceeds of which also went to the research fund.
Hype over the professionals and Billy Baldwin aside, Fullam said the most memorable part of the day was the sense of unity and sportsmanship the pink socks and charity component generated for the children.
“I think the children get excited about being part of something larger than just their team of 15 players. It brings unity throughout all teams and soccer clubs… Even though we’re playing against each other, we’re still working towards a common goal,” Fullam said.