CHICAGO (CBS) – Once in doubt, several 13-year-old soccer players from the south side of Chicago will head to Florida, to compete for the national championship. They needed $30,000 to make the trip, and they didn’t have time to raise the money.
CBS 2’s Jim Williams covered the story last weekend and now reports that the community has rallied the kids.
“I am grateful to everyone who has contributed to us.”
Jayvon Anderson and Leonard Gibson – two 8th grade soccer players who understand sacrifice.
“I’m really grateful, especially for the holidays. So a lot of people are spending a lot of money on their families so the fact that they donate to us shows that they really care about us,” Anderson said.
As we told you last weekend, their team was on the road at 87 and Dan Ryan asked the driver for money so they could compete for the national championship in Florida.
The South Side Wolfpack – 13 – won the state and midwest titles, but they needed $30,000 to make the trip.
“At first, I thought we were going to be a little short,” said Gibson.
The trainer set up a GoFundMe page, and their initial checkup was grim.
At the beginning of the weekend, there was only $2,000 in a GoFundMe account and the ride was in doubt. But by Monday, it was clear they were on their way to Florida.
Entrepreneur Early Walker called friends in the business community and they passed, so did our audience. Impressed with Coach Ernest Radcliffe’s track record – coaching and mentoring 400 boys at any given time.
“I’ve always been on the front lines because it has to do with the violence in Chicago, and well, I can’t help but think that the kids here are doing something positive. Walker said.
The GoFundMe page currently has more than $50,000.
“I’m glad I’m mentally preparing for what’s to come,” Anderson said. “It feels really great to have that weight off my shoulders to be able to confidently say that I’m going to be a national player this year.”
The players and coaches are very grateful.
“It was a huge honor and the city of Chicago put our arms around us and really rallied to help all of our young people,” said Radcliffe.
Now it’s coming to Florida.
“We have unfinished business to deal with and that’s what we’re going down to is taking care of the business,” said coach Rynell Morgan.
The bus departs at 11 a.m. Friday.
Coach Radcliffe told us they would use the extra money to take their older players on college tours, support the girls’ cheer squads they coach, expand their baseball show and perhaps start drumming.