Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Hamilton Sportsmanship Award Night a Success

Wow - I've clearly been on a hiatus this spring from the blog. It's been a busy soccer season over at CASL, but I look forward to getting back in touch with all of you this summer!

Hamilton Sportsmanship Award Night

I'm reintroducing myself to the CASL blog world with this blog post about our most recent Hamilton Sportsmanship Award night, presented by Dick's Sporting Goods. On Saturday, May 16, we recognized 140 of the sportsmanship award nominees at the Carolina RailHawks game. You can see a full list of all winners here. 

The night started off with players coming by the CASL tent to pick-up their certificate and commemorative gift pack. CASL CEO Gary Buete, Cindy Hamilton (the daughter of the award's namesake, Pat Hamilton), and our mascot, Cleats, were on hand along with our enthusiastic staff to help congratulate the winners. Thanks to Planet Smoothie, each sportsmanship award winner also got treated to a free smoothie prior to the game! 

Our players went home with the certificate, a CASL/Dick's Sporting Goods Tumbler, some trendy CASL/Dick's Sporting Goods sunglasses, a gift card to Dick's Sporting Goods, and an additional free smoothie coupon! They also went home with a memory of being recognized at halftime in front of a near record crowd at the RailHawks game - we paraded onto the field at half-time, as the cheers from the stands helped congratulate these winners for their outstanding displays of sportsmanship this season. As one mom mentioned to me, "it was an experience my first grader, nor I, will soon forget." All of the winners squeezed together on the field for a commemorative photo as well. 

Group photo with all of our Hamilton Sportsmanship Award Winners! 
Oh, and did I mention that some of our U8-U12 (girls) winners were surprised with a FREE entrance into the TeamFirst Camp (Thanks Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC!) hosted by Mia Hamm on June 21 as an added bonus to their awesome sportsmanship?!?! You can pledge to live fearless with BCBSNC for a chance to send your daughter to this camp hosted at WRAL Soccer Park: http://livefearlessnc.com/pledge-rules/  

The CASL Tower was packed on Saturday, and everyone showed their #CASLpride all night. We had more than 330 players nominated this spring by their coach or teammates, and we were thrilled to be able to provide this experience to our players. We've seen this number grow each season, and our goal is to have 100% participation from our coaches in the future. 

Thanks, again, to Dick's Sporting Goods and WakeMed Health & Hospitals, who sponsor our good sports! 

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Free Food, Discounts, and More!

On snow days, I think we all sometimes look for a little distraction. Today, hopefully I'll share a beneficial distraction with you. I wrote earlier this month about the spring virtual discount/promotion bag we put together for our CASL families. We offered the opportunity for our sponsors and local community supporters to put together digital promotions, and we put them all into our "virtual event bag". 
A Sneak Peak into the Virtual Bag

We wanted to test it out this spring. If you haven't done so already, I encourage you to take a look into the bag. The companies that have put something into the bag are all financial supporters of CASL. In turn, their support (whether it's through a field sponsorship, jersey sponsorship, tournament sponsorship, or other sponsorship) helps us maintain and improve our services to our players, coaches, and families. 

Sometimes you might play on Dick's Sporting Goods field or notice the SportClips logo on the back of your kid's jersey and wonder why they are there. They are there because they believe in what we do at CASL and in the positive influence a youth soccer experience can have on all of your children and the community. I am fortunate to work with these companies on a day-to-day basis, and it's truly rewarding to witness their corporate generosity. With that in mind, if you ever get the chance to return the support of these (and all of our generous sponsors), I encourage you to do so. 

Below is a list of all the companies and highlights of the promotion/deal they are offering CASL families in the Virtual Bag. Don't be alarmed if you are prompted to "sign in" to the platform - this just allows us to maximize the benefits of the platform and track the activity on the page so we can be more informed moving forward. 

Enter the Virtual Bag Here

PassHat: Collect money for gifts and dues with this simple tool (they also have a partnership with the team management app TeamSnap!) - PassHat is offering CASL members a 50% discount off already low service fees. 

Kitty Hawk Kites: CASL members can save 15% on hang gliding at the OBX (sure sounds nice on a day like this, right?!)

Sky Zone Raleigh: Wear your CASL or CAYA jersey/t-shirt into the indoor trampoline park and jump for only $10!

Orthopaedic Specialists of NC: $10 Sports Physicals

Carolina RailHawks: Buy Season Tickets in the month of Feb. and receive a free autographed mini-ball!

SportClips: Free HairCut for New Clients

Crown Trophy of Raleigh (your CASL Awards supplier) is offering a FREE coach gift

Kanki (Crabtree Valley Mall) is offering a buy one adult entree, get one kids' entree FREE

Newcomb & Company: 10% off annual HVAC Maintenance Agreement

The FishRoom: the Triangle's premier aquarium store

Dragonwing Girlgear: 20% off sports bras, compression shorts, and more!

TriSure: Managing Risk from a Unique Perspective. Yours.

CiCi's Pizza: Free Kids Meal

KitKeepers: Happy Mom by KitKeepers

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Exclusive CASL deals coming to your inbox very soon!

As we get ready to kick-off the spring season (some of you may already be playing), I wanted to pass along a cool opportunity coming to your inbox next week. 

  • Be on the look out for a Virtual Event Bag link to access exclusive deals for CASL families from our generous corporate sponsors and community supporters. This link will be distributed to all of our CASL families on Friday, February 13th so be sure to check your inbox.
We are going 'GREEN'! This is the first year we are using the Virtual Event Bag platform to pass on coupons and promotions as well as CASL information to you in a concise and efficient manner. We encourage you to download these coupons/promotions and support the companies whose CASL sponsorship helps us serve you better. 

Download the full 20% off storewide coupon from Dick's Sporting Goods
through the Virtual Event Bag opening February 13th 
Sneak peaks into the Virtual Event Bag:

  • Dick's Sporting Goods/CASL Shop Weekend Coupon for 20% off throughout the store - you'll get to download the coupon and redeem it any  Triangle location Feb. 13 - 15. This is a great opportunity to restock your soccer equipment and any other sporting goods needs before the season gets underway! 
  • CASL Golf Tournament Registration - The spring golf tournament is set for April 20 at Prestonwood Country Club. Be sure to reserve your spot or foursome early. All funds raised will support the Goal Assist Fund, which supports player financial aid, soccer outreach, coaching education, and facility maintenance. 
We'll release some other teasers soon, but the only way to access these great deals is to click on the Virtual Event Bag link in your email inbox com February 13th. 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

'Tis the Season

The Salvation Army of Wake County is no stranger to helping families in need. In a single year, the Salvation Army provides more than 10,000 nights of shelter, helps more than 116,000 individuals, and serves nearly 50,000 meals each year. 

The holiday season is no exception. This year the Salvation Army of Wake County registered nearly 9,000 children to be part of the Christmas Cheer Program. Through this program, children receive new clothing, toys, and stockings. Volunteers and donations help provide a special Christmas for these children. 

The U10 CAYA Black North Girls, coached by Jason Wolfe, had their winter team party this past December weekend. In addition to spending time together and celebrating a great season, the team put together stockings for the Salvation Army's Christmas Cheer program. They also had a little creative fun putting together gingerbread houses! 

This kind of spirit is certainly contagious. Please share with us any community service or support efforts you are providing this holiday season, either as an individual or a group. We pride ourselves on being a committed community partner. We are nearing the end of the year and we are proud to say that through this team's service effort, we have documented our collective 40th service effort in the community! Check out all that our club and our players have done this year to to give back to the community that has supported us for so many years. 

Monday, November 3, 2014

Hamilton Night at the RailHawks game

written by Chelsey Stark, CASL intern

Despite the November rain, wind and cold weather, almost 150 Hamilton Sportsmanship Award winners and their families came out to the RailHawks game to be recognized for their outstanding fall seasons as exemplary sportsmanship role models. Thanks to the generous corporate support of Dick's Sporting Goods and WakeMed Health and Hospitals, these players were treated to a special night at the Carolina RailHawks last home game of the season. 

Named in honor of Dr. Pat Hamilton, an advocate for the development of youth soccer in North Carolina, the Hamilton award is presented to an individual from each team who is a standout not only on the field, but off the field as well. CASL emphasizes the importance of growth and development of young adults, teaching sportsmanship traits needed to be successful in life, not just the game.
one winner proudly taking her picture
With hot chocolate in our arsenal, Hamilton Award winners, families and friends corralled around our tents to receive their certificates and gift bags while enjoying a cup of liquid warmth before the game. Dick's Sporting Goods was on hand to help congratulate the award winners with additional free giveaways. Each sportsmanship award winner also received a free ticket to that night's game. The CASL Tower was packed with sportsmanship award winners and their supportive coaches, teammates, friends, and family.
Cleats leading the parade of champions down the final stretch of applause and cheers!
Luckily, the weather held off for a much drier 90 minutes as the RailHawks took to the field. In a game where the RailHawks needed a victory against Minnesota to advance to the post-season NASL Championship, the excitement of the game was at an all-time high, along with attendance. The first half closed with a 1-0 RailHawks lead.

At half, Hamilton winners lined up to start their parade around the stadium to high-five and wave to the large crowd. Cleats, CASL's mascot, was on hand to lead the parade of award winners. Many of them could look up to the videoboard to see themselves recognized on the big screen for all to see. These athletes demonstrated tremendous character, leadership, integrity and respect toward their coaches and fellow teammates for the Fall season, qualities that deserve high recognition.

The line of athletes snaked back to the field exit, and it wasn’t too much longer before the game turned into a spooky day-after-Halloween phenomenon with a power outage and only the videoboard to shed light on the stadium, delaying the second half for 30 minutes.

The RailHawks finished their 2014 NASL regular season with a 2-2 tie, and to their fans dismay, unable to advance into contention for the NASL Soccer Bowl championship.

We would like to congratulate all CASL Hamilton Sportsmanship Award winners! 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

End of Year Celebration at the RailHawks Game

The Challenge and Recreation teams closed their fall seasons this past Saturday with CASL friends, family and fun at the RailHawks game.

Players in the Fan Tunnel
Many players first had the opportunity to rev up the RailHawks in the fan tunnel before the game. Swoops – the Carolina RailHawks beloved mascot – also made an appearance on the field to mingle with the fan tunnel and get them ready for the player walk-out.

Kids were then dismissed to watch the chilly first half as the RailHawks took on the Fort Lauderdale Strikers. The game got off to a slow start, as neither team created any quality chances.

Half-time activity amped up the spectators as CASL athletes took to the pitch for a quick-paced and fun relay race around the field. Kids of all ages were jumbled into four teams of six and assigned a jersey color (red, white, orange or black) which acted as batons.

Each relay teammate was set up at either a corner flag or the half-field line for their baton pass until the last runner arrived back at the starting line. The red team edged out all other competitors in the last leg of the relay in a photo finish with the white team.

The race took all of two minutes, props to the CASL lightning-fast sprinters who showed up for the half-time fun.

Other teams who were there anxiously waited for their team picture to flash up on the big video board. As part of the celebration, teams were able to submit their team pictures to the RailHawks and be featured during the game!

The RailHawks and Strikers then reconvened to the field to finish off the game. The RailHawks went behind 0-1 mid-way through the second half, but answered with an amazing back-of-the-heel, trick-shot goal to tie it up 1-1 in the 82nd minute of play. With this result, the RailHawks remain in contention for a spot in the NASL playoffs.

Don't forget to get your $10 discounted CASL Tower tickets for the last Carolina RailHawks game of the season. Click here to buy your tickets! 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

#GrowTheGame - CASL Fall Fundraiser

Many of you may have heard, but this year's Fall Raffle Fundraiser is underway. Special thanks to BlackFinn Ameripub, Class Act Maid Services, Nick Cerullo of Merrill Lynch, and SkyZone Indoor trampoline Park, we've already kickstarted our fundraising efforts through sponsor support. 

Click HERE to purchase your tickets online.

In previous years, we executed a traditional paper ticket raffle. This year, we are catching up with the times and moving to an entirely secure online raffle ticket system. This process should make it easier for anyone to share the link and purchase tickets to help us reach our fundraising objectives:
  1. Increase CASL's Financial Aid program that distributes more than $50,000/year to qualifying players
  2. Improve the fields and facilities at WRAL Soccer Park and all of our other used fields in the area 
  3. Provide our 500 volunteer and seasonal coaches with resources and education to be successful 
  4. Grow the game of soccer through outreach programs targeting diverse, underserved populations
The raffle will be live through December 4th. Every ticket purchased will have the chance to win one of many amazing prizes, many of which were generously donated by community supporters. The grand prize winner will have the choice of three trips: Jamaica, New York, or Disney World. Others of you could win a $250 Dick's Sporting Goods gift card, Harris Teeter Gift Cards, SOCCER.com gift cards, UNC Men's Basketball Tickets, a Sonicare Toothbrush, or even a Supreme Air Birthday Package from SkyZone. We keep adding prizes, so check our updated prize list back regularly. 

We are encouraging all Recreation, Challenge, CAYA, and Classic players to sell two tickets each. All ECNL players should strive to sell 5 tickets each, and Academy players should sell 10 tickets. 

Our goal is to raise $75,000 specifically to support the aforementioned areas of need. We launched the raffle about a week ago, and have started to make a dent in our fundraising goal. We still have a ways to go, but with your help, I believe we can achieve this goal. Please help us share the link or help us reach our goal by participating in this year's fundraiser.

We've already seen success stories of many of our players who have sent out the link to friends and family. Duncan Wegner, U14 Academy, sold more than 10 tickets in about 48 hours just by sending the link out. If you need any help, please reach out to me directly - katharine.kelley@CASLnc.com