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Stafire XTREME Cup Has Life-Changing Impact

The final act of most youth soccer tournaments comes when the winning team (or teams) take the podium to receive their trophies, smile for photos, and shake hands with tournament organizers.

At this year’s Starfire XTREME Cup, that moment was merely the beginning.

The XTREME Cup, Starfire Sports’ only all-recreational annual tournament, brought together 75 recreational teams from across the state for a fun, festival-style event over the weekend of Aug. 12-14.

The competition, however, started long before the referee blew the whistle to start play. In addition to competing for tournament titles, teams entered in the XTREME Cup also competed to raise money to combat water shortages around the world — a crisis that affects nearly one billion people globally.

“As a non-profit organization ourselves, Starfire Sports is constantly looking for ways to make an impact in the community — both the local community, and the larger soccer community,” says Starfire Sports Tournament Director, Teddy Mitalas.

Registered teams were tasked to raise as much money as possible before the tournament, to benefit WATER, an international organization that builds wells in international communities and trains local individuals on hygiene and well maintenance, to ensure a consistent, long-term water source. In addition to team donations, Starfire Sports contributed $50 of each team’s registration fee to the charity, as well as 100 percent of the proceeds from the sale of water (donated by Coca-Cola) during the tournament’s three days.

“We wanted to create a tournament where we could impact youth in a different way,” says Mitalas. “Soccer is the world’s game, and one of the few sports that has an impact all over the globe. We wanted to do something that would reflect that, and get the kids involved in making an impact beyond the limits of their own everyday world.”

In all, the XTREME Cup generated over $5,000 for WATER, more than enough to build a well in an impoverished village. In 12-18 months, WATER will provide Starfire Sports with specific GPS coordinates, photos and videos of the village in which the well has been built, so that the organization can share with teams and individual donors the direct impact of their charity.

As the highest-earning team, Stingrays BU15 received backpacks and an MLS ball signed by Seattle Sounders FC players. In addition to collecting, Stingrays players also contributed cash from their own pockets to support the cause.

Mitalas says that it is the goal of Starfire Sports to turn the XTREME Cup into an annual charitable event, to benefit a different charity each year. The organization is currently taking votes online to determine which cause to support next year — the water crisis, child hunger, poverty, sustainability or any other cause not listed. Voting (linked above) is open to anyone, and readers are encouraged to log their opinion.

“The event was a big success this year, so we’re hopeful that with more team input, and an earlier start this year, we can have an even greater impact in 2012,” Mitalas says.

For more information on the XTREME Cup or any of Starfire Sports’ other annual tournaments or events, visit their tournament page.

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