NEW HAVEN, Conn. (February 16, 2017) -- The Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) this week donated 241 soccer balls to the Kick for Nick Organization, as those items will be donated throughout the world to underprivileged children.
Staff members of the CACC office (based in Woodbridge, Conn.) delivered the balls to Bill Madaras, who oversees the organization, which is based in Wilton, Conn., the hometown of PFC Nick Madaras. The organization is named in honor of Nick, who was killed in action in Iraq as a member of the United States Army in September 2006.
The 241 balls were collected during a collection drive that spanned three months from November through January. Member schools and fans of those institutions turned out in full force to aid in the collection drive, as nearly 150 were collected during the CACC Men's and Women's Soccer Championships at Georgian Court University from Nov. 4-6, in Lakewood, N.J. New and used balls were donated by fans of all teams competing that weekend, including from a local soccer youth group in the Lakewood area that attends matches on the GCU campus on a regular basis. The donations did not stop there, however, as balls continued to pour in throughout the months of December and January, as the collection drive went longer than expected due to the wonderful contributions of so many people.
"This is a wonderful thing for the CACC and its member institutions to take part in," said CACC Commissioner Dan Mara, as the CACC office is located in Woodbridge, Conn., and is less than an hour from Madaras' hometown. "We thought we could collect a modest amount of soccer balls, but not in our wildest imagination did we think we could collect the amount we did. That shows how much our schools and fans care about making a difference in the lives of people who are less fortunate, especially children."
The Kick for Nick organization has donated nearly 48,000 soccer balls around the world and here in the United States since 2008, when it was founded. The soccer balls collected by the CACC and its member schools will be sent to various countries who work with the organization. ESPN has run multiple features on the organization, including the first story in 2008 and a follow-up in 2016.
"From the moment we saw Nick's story run on ESPN, the CACC felt it was important to take part in a worthy initiative such as Kick for Nick," said CACC Associate Commissioner Doug DeBiase. "We had a lot of conversations with coaches and administrators at various schools, and they were excited to take part in the collection drive. The soccer balls will allow children all over the world to create goals and gain confidence in themselves; not just in soccer, but all things."
PFC Madaras, who played soccer throughout his youth and teenage years, had a dream to have soccer balls sent overseas to children he saw in Iraq who were dealing with very trying circumstances. Unfortunately, PFC Madaras passed away before he saw his dream come true, but his memory lives on with the donated balls. Each donated soccer ball has Nick's name written 3-4 times on it to keep his spirit for life, soccer and helping others, alive.
ABOUT THE CACC
The Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference is an NCAA Division II Conference composed of 14 institutions in Connecticut, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. The member institutions are Bloomfield College, Caldwell University, Chestnut Hill College, Concordia (N.Y.) College, Dominican (N.Y.) College, Felician University, Georgian Court University, Goldey-Beacom College, Holy Family University, Nyack College, Philadelphia University, Post University of Waterbury, University of the Sciences, and Wilmington University.
CACC MEMBERS & GROUPS DONATING TO COLLECTION DRIVE
Georgian Court University
Holy Family University
Lakewood (N.J.) Youth Soccer Club
CACC Conference Office