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RFC kicks in to Richmond KidSport

Soccer club brings Stoke City to Richmond for free camp then makes donation to young athlete assistance program

One big assist deserves another. That’s what Richmond F.C. (RFC) wanted to do for an organization that has helped more city children play the beautiful game.
The boys soccer association presented the Richmond Kidsport chapter a cheque for $5,171 on Monday.
The total represents funds raised from this week’s camp being run by coaches from Stoke City F.C. at Minoru Park.
The Richmond stop is the second leg of a two-week stay in B.C. for the English Premier League club that began in Kamloops.
The five-day camp is divided into two-hour morning and afternoon sessions for 120 players and paid for entirely by RFC.
It’s from money saved last season after being shutdown for roughly eight weeks due to inclement weather and field closures.
The club did ask camp participants to make a minimum donation of $20 which went to Richmond Kidsport. It’s easy to see why RFC chose this outstanding program. Last year, Richmond Kidsport helped 76 players be part of RFC with grants totalling over $22,000.
“We are a big user of Richmond KidSport and have a tremendous relationship with them,” said RFC chair Rein Weber. “We are a big a supporter of their (fundraising) dinners and do whatever we can but this was a way for us to give back to them.
“Richmond is an expensive place to live. Although soccer is a relatively cheap sport it does add up for families and lot of our kids use the Richmond Kidsport program.”
The Stoke City camp is among several things RFC did with its “leftover” surplus for the winter season.
A year-end pizza party, additional scholarships and funding for graduating players and a two-week introductory program visiting local elementary schools, with RFC’s professional staff, were also carried out.
“We didn’t want to run away from the fact RFC actually saved money last season,” continued Weber. “We knew we saved money in referees. Saved money on field costs and saved money on coaches.
“I sent out an email to our membership asking them what they wanted to do with it. For the most part, refunds didn’t even come up and, what pleased me the most was the consensus to keep it with RFC. Just make the right decisions and give it to the families that needed it.”
Weber was thrilled with the response to the elementary program that costs RFC about $2,000 per week. The hope is to continue it next year if parent advisory councils (PACs) can assist with the funding.
“It is a great way to get more kids involved and engaged. They get to learn more about soccer,” he said.
The club has been exploring options should the coming season again be halted for an extended period due to weather, including purchasing indoor turf and gym times.
Richmond FC features roughly 1,400 players in its fall/winter program another 700 play in its spring league.
“We are starting to plan what we would do again, including developing a better relationship with the schools. Who knows with the weather. It could be a cycle like this for the next 10 years,” laughed Weber.