Plainedge Soccer Club Continues To Foster Strong Community Roots
May 07, 2018 | by Matthew Levine
Using soccer to foster a stronger sense of community.
That’s what forms the ethos of the Plainedge Soccer Club.
“This is all about the community for us,” club president Joe Karam said. “What we look to do is get all of the kids, coaches, and teams involved in different activities within the community.
“It’s a big deal to teach our kids that being involved is a good thing for the place they live in.”
On Friday, May 4, the club held a charity event for Rocco’s Voice For Autism, which is run by Plainedge Soccer board member Sonny Spagnuolo.
Spagnuolo’s six-year-old son Rocco was diagnosed with autism at the age of two and now the nascent organization – just over a year old – is hoping to raise awareness and help other families.
“The worst feeling you have as a parent is not being able to help your kid,” Spagnuolo said. “He’s non-verbal autistic and it’s tough. It’s not only tough for the kid, but the family as well. I started this to help families living with autism and I think people need to know what autism is.”
Spagnuolo added, “What we’re trying to do – and we’re fairly new – but we would like to help families financially, with services, schools, whatever the situation might be.”
Friday’s event was just one of the many initiatives the club has taken up. Around Thanksgiving, the club runs their Kids Helping Kids indoor tournament. Money from the tournament goes to charities as well as a toy drive being set up during the event.
The tournament has been a staple for the last 20 years, and allows the kids “to ask questions and see the value of what they are doing,” noted Karam.
Spagnuolo, who has been involved with the club for 10 years, stressed the importance of having a club that is based around more than just what happens on the field.
“The club has been extremely supportive,” Spagnuolo said. “It’s just been phenomenal. This club is phenomenal. Even this community, it’s just incredible what they do. Everyone is one big family here.
“When you come here on Saturdays and Sundays, you feel like you’re home, like you’re in your own backyard.”
At least 2,000 people were expected to pass through the soccer field at Plainedge Middle School, whether they were members of the club or not, to play bubble soccer, go on pony rides, and other activities in an effort to raise awareness for autism.
The club, along with Rocco’s Voice For Autism, is hoping that events like the one last Friday will not only better the community, but can ultimately help out families affected with autism for years to come.
“Maybe one day we can help find a cure for it by people getting involved and raising awareness,” Karam said.
Learn more about Rocco's Voice For Autism here.