Playing for a cause

It started as a joke. It ended up a season-long fundraiser and spotlight on a good cause. 

“I was messing with them and I said, ‘you guys don’t play better I’m going to make you wear pink’ or something like that,” Crush head coach Steven Stovall said. 

This past season, the Crush, a seventh and eighth grade soccer team in the Mid-Valley Soccer Club, donned pink kits for the month of October to help raise awareness for breast cancer. It was an idea years in the making. Stovall said his wife had wanted the team to wear pink ever since their son started playing at 6-years old. 

And after his joking last year, the idea took shape. 

Stovall said that near the end of last season, some of the boys asked about the pink jerseys, so there was some interest in it from the team. After getting the club and parents behind the idea, he moved forward with it. 

Stovall even switched the team name up to Crush Cancer. 

And while some might expect a group of young boys to not be so happy about wearing the color pink, that wasn’t the case for the Crush. 

“They loved the pink jerseys,” Stovall said. “They embraced it. Nobody complained about it. It was awesome.” 

And what would a good cause be without a fundraiser? So right there on the sleeve, Stovall placed a QR code that can be scanned to make a donation. 

The fundraising didn’t go quite as well as Stovall hoped after setting a goal of $2,000. However, Stovall found other ways to raise money for the cause. 

“My family wanted to have hoodies made, and so we basically made the hoodie look like a jersey, and once the other parents got word of that, they started asking, ‘Hey, can you make me one?’” Stovall said. 

Stovall charged $40 for each hoodie, with half of those proceeds being donated. Stovall said they raised $480 just through hoodie sales. 

He also put together swag bags with smaller items like decals and can cooleys, and offered those to people for any donation amount. 

And it got attention from more than just the team parents. 

“One of the other coaches in MBSC donated, I think it was a hundred bucks, so he was on board,” Stovall said. “He had lost a friend to breast cancer and stuff. So the response has been super positive from everyone we’ve talked to.”