Santa Rosa soccer club festival gives back to youth players

Santa Rosa United’s inaugural fall event featured games, food trucks and a silent auction.|

More than 1,300 people came out to Trione Fields in Santa Rosa on Sept. 14 for Santa Rosa United soccer club’s inaugural Fall Festival fundraiser.

The event, which was open to the public, raised approximately $30,000 for the club’s teams through a silent auction.

DJ Willie G provided the music for the admission-free event, which ran from 4 to 7 p.m. and also featured an inflatable obstacle course, soccer-related activities and challenges, a dunk tank, raffles and several food vendors.

The event was conceived as a way to give back to the members of the club, which currently includes some 600 youth soccer players and their families, according to Duane Cummings, the club’s director of soccer operations.

“Coming off of years of fires and COVID, it was an opportunity to give back to our community,“ said Cummings. ”Just let them have a few hours of fun.“

For the event’s fundraising element, each of the club’s youth teams auctioned up to two baskets of items and passes to events like the Healdsburg Food & Wine Experience. Proceeds went back to the teams to offset expenses including player scholarships and travel costs.

As a nonprofit club with a nearly 50-year history, Santa Rosa United utilizes ”soccer as a vehicle to teach not only the sport, but life lessons,“ Cummings said.

The club’s teams range from six high school-level boy and girl teams who play in the Elite Clubs National League, which Cummings describes as a pathway to playing soccer in college, all the way to a 6-week Junior Soccer Academy program for 4- to 8-year-olds.

“We want to foster a love for the game in an environment where (kids) are supported and nurtured,” said Cummings.

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