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Dayton Daily News (Ohio)
Charlie and Grace Almoney of Oakwood have started a new charity, Pass it Back Soccer.
Great soccer requires good passing skills and lightning-quick decisions. During possession, is it best to maneuver through a couple of aggressive opponents or pass it back to a teammate with a better chance of moving the ball closer to the goal? Choices like these are second nature for Charlie and Grace Almoney of Oakwood. The soccer-playing siblings set a new goal for themselves this year when they started a new charity, Pass it Back Soccer.
"I play club soccer for Ohio Galaxies, and there are some players who can't afford the equipment they need to play," said Charlie, an Oakwood junior who also plays defense for OHS. "That made me curious. Was this just a problem with my team or the whole Dayton area?"
The pair decided to do in-depth research in March, and sent out surveys to hundreds of club directors, athletic directors, and soccer coaches at regional high schools.
"We just asked them if they saw a need for soccer equipment, and the results were incredible," Charlie said. "There is a great need and a great number of youth who couldn't afford the equipment."
That's when they decided to hit the ground running. Grace set up a website, www.passitbacksoccer.org, and it went live this past June. They also have a Facebook page. Their motto is "Pass it Back Soccer: Giving is our Goal." Their navy blue and green logo resembles part of a soccer ball; the circular form appears to be people with outstretched arms.
"It's surprised me a lot how many kids don't have the right equipment, or sizes of cleats, or high quality equipment. So many of them love the game but can't play because they don't have the needed equipment," said Grace, an Oakwood sophomore who plays midfield for the school and Ohio Galaxies club soccer.
The charity partners with Soccer Plus, on Kingsridge Drive near the Dayton Mall. They have many soccer buddies and friends who help out: picking up new/gently used soccer equipment, cleaning and disinfecting cleats/shin guards, and getting the word out. Some have helped to place donation bins in new locations, like St. Christopher Catholic School in Vandalia.
"The bulk of our donations have come from Soccer Plus. They've been a huge help to us," Charlie said.
They've received about 80 pairs of cleats, 30 pairs of shin guards and about 30 soccer balls. They also have soccer socks and warmup gear. On Aug. 12, they went to Action Sports Center where some Dayton Area Soccer Association players practice, and set up a table with donations. They ended up giving out 15 pairs of cleats, eight sets of shin guards, five size 3 balls and even some practice cones for a coach.
"Some of the kids didn't have shin guards or soccer socks, and some of them were in tennis shoes," said Grace. "The parents would bring their kids over so we could fit them for cleats. They were all so thankful; a little girl came up and hugged me after she tried on cleats."
Throughout this journey, they've had the support of their parents, Bill and Jennifer Almoney. They are encouraging anyone who needs equipment to fill out the request form on their website.
Potential donors can email Grace and Charlie at firstname.lastname@example.org You can also visit their Facebook page.
"We have really enjoyed playing the game of soccer and meeting new friends," Charlie said. "It's given us enjoyable memories and great experiences, and we'd like to give other kids the same opportunity."
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