“Without community support, we simply would not exist.”
It’s practice night at the Fountain Hills Soccer Club fields and organized chaos fills every corner. Kids of all shapes and sizes are running drills, kicking soccer balls, and listening (mostly) to their volunteer adult coaches. Nearly 250 children are registered to play this year, thanks in part to a $1250 grant from the Fountain Hills Community Foundation.
Board president Rachel Walters said the club has been focused on growing the club over the past five years by conducting an extensive community outreach, introducing sibling discounts to ensure as many children as possible can afford to register, awarding scholarships to families experiencing financial hardship, and keeping registration costs low.
“The generous grant from the Fountain Hills community Foundation has paid for scholarships for families experiencing financial hardship during these tough economic times,” she said. “It has also helped us to keep our registration fees low in spite of inflation increasing nearly every expense that we have.”
In addition to scholarships, the grant helped cover cost increases for uniforms, field lining paint, soccer balls, nets, refer fees, insurance premiums, software, and fees associated with lighting the fields for practices and games.
Rachel, who is currently serving her fifth season as board president, said she and her husband moved to Fountain Hills fourteen years ago because they thought it was the perfect place to raise a family. Both of their sons, Matthew (6th grade) and Joseph (3rd grade) play soccer as well as basketball with the Boys & Girls Club and baseball with the Fountain Hills Little League.
“I joined the board when I found out that the Fountain Hills Soccer Club (FHSC) was run entirely by volunteer parents and needed help to continue offering soccer in the community,” she said. “I just wanted my kids to be able to play soccer in town with their friends.”
Besides the game of soccer itself, Rachel said the kids learn teamwork, cooperation, and fairness, as well as how to win and lose respectfully through club participation. She estimates the FHSC has grown nearly 150% in the past five years and credits organizations like the Fountain Hills Community Foundation for helping the entirely volunteer-run, non-profit organization ensure that every child gets a chance to play.
“We rely solely on registration fees, generous sponsorships from local businesses, and grants from community organizations,” she said. “If we did not receive donations like the grant we received from the Fountain Hills Community Foundation, the FHSC would have to raise registration fees dramatically. Our community coming together to support our youth truly has a tremendous positive impact on so many Fountain Hills children and families. Without community support, we simply would not exist.”