Welcoming 1200 student-athletes and hundreds of their family and fans into our community has a tremendous impact on the local economy. They dine at our restaurants, stay in our hotels, and shop in our stores. But when the same group of athletes takes the opportunity to give back to that community, and participate in a service project, the impact is incredible, meaningful and unquantifiable.
When the Northwest Athletic Conference (NWAC) made the decision to move their annual pre-season Soccer Tournament to the Willamalane Center for Sports and Recreation in Springfield, the organizers quickly expressed their desire to partner with a local charity. With so many outstanding and worthy charitable organizations in our region, the decision was not easy, but we ultimately connected them with the McKinney-Vento Program at the Brattain House, a program that assists under-served and homeless youth in the Springfield area.
Each of the 50 men’s and women’s teams were asked to bring a backpack full of clothes, school supplies and other items, for a child in need. The response was incredible! The teams outdid themselves, some bringing boxes and boxes of backpacks, others providing complete uniform kits, and nearly every backpack overflowing with necessary school supplies for Springfield youth.
"From one soccer player to another thank you so much! I hope you are blessed with a hat trick!! Enjoy your season and thank you so much for all you've done!!" - Janet Beckman, the homeless liaison for Springfield Public Schools' Brattain House
To thank the schools, a free BBQ was provided to all 1200 athletes and coaches on the first night of the tournament. Partners from the Eugene, Cascades & Coast Sports Commission, City of Springfield, Hole in the Wall BBQ, Toby’s Family Foods, Valley River Inn and Hilton Garden Inn all pitched in, and representatives from the City and the Brattain House personally thanked the teams for their donations.
Thank you to the Northwest Athletic Conference for your positive impact in our community!