Riley Coffman's CYC Soccer Experience - and other RAS

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Riley and Coach Angelo

The following is an email written by Riley's parents to the St. Peter's soccer director.

We wanted to share a quick story about Riley's soccer experience in hopes you could pass it along for other folks...

Riley has played St. Peter soccer off and on for the past five years.  Since Riley has Down syndrome we've grown more and more concerned about having her play due to the dramatic skill level increases we see each year with all the other girls (especially with them now being in 5th grade).  This year we decide to lt her "play" by only participating in practices (no games) and she loved it.  She would look forward to playing with her soccer team each week at practice more than any other activity.  Her coaches (Mike Ryan, Angelo Bendoff, Scott Holdridge and Julie Gau) were absolutely amazing and so were her teammates - honestly, Cindy and I could not imagine a better athletic experience for Riley.

A couple of days before their last game I ran into Angelo who basically pleaded with me to let Riley play in their last game, so we agreed.  The morning of the game we got Riley dressed in her STP soccer uniform and she was beaming.  Between the hour when we got her dressed and game time, she must have asked 30 times whenher game was - she was clearly super excited.

St. Peter was playing St. Gabriel that morning.  Our coaches met with St. Gabriel's coaches to let them know that Riley would be playing that morning (at least for a few minutes).  Riley got to kick-off the game and it quickly became apparent that the plan was to get Riley her first goal.  As she slowly kicked the ball down the field, both the St. Peter players and the St. Gabriel players made sure the ball didn't get too far away from Riley and would pass it back to her if it did.  Eventually Riley got it close to the goal and scored!  The reaction from all the players, coaches and parents from both teams was tremendously heartwarming.  Everyone celebrated her and pattedher on the back as theyran back to mid-field.  Both Cindy and I got choked up at the whole experience.  Attached is a picture of Riley and Coach Angelo after the big goal.

As a parent of a child with special needs, moments like this will last a lifetime.  We just want to say thank you so much to her amazing coaches and her sweet teammates.  We also want to thank St. Gabriel for their sportsmanship and kindness.  I can't remember who won the game that day, but I sure know what family did - the Coffmans

Sincerely,  Jeff and Cindy Coffman

Congratulations to all involved in making this memory for the Coffman family.  We are awarding a Random Act of Sportsmanship (RAS) to the coaches and players on both teams.  Well deserved!!!  Thank you for displaying the spirit that makes CYC Sports so great.

Here are a few more RAS that were observed and reported during the CYC Soccer Playoffs.

1st and foremost, a sincere thanks to all officials and table volunteers, coaches, players and parents who played through the cold afternoon rain on Saturday, November 18.  Those were tough conditions and you all persevered.

A RAS is awarded to soccer official John Bollinger for his contageous positive attitude.  No matter how cold or wet or bad the conditions John is always upbeat.  He communicates in a positive manner with the players and coaches during the game, and he always has a smile on his face.  Thank you John for your positive contribution to every game you officiate.

RASes were also awarded to 2 boys soccer coaches who showed great patience and continued to instruct their players throughout tough games in the playoffs.  They did not put blame on players for mistakes, but instead instructed them if that situation should happen again.  Those coaches are Chris Holway of St. Ferdinand and John Nero of Holy Spirit.  Congratuations coaches for your dedication to your players.

Finally we would like to award RASes to CYC High School girls coach and an Archdiocese employee who teamed up to collect soccer shoes for youths playing soccer in Bolivia.  Coach Mike Puetz - St. Michael and Jerry Amsler - Archdiocese Employee.  Thank you for your giving example. 

We invite you to keep your eyes and ears open while attending CYC games and let us know when you see a RAS.  Just send a brief email explaining the situation to buzzswanston@archstl.org .  We want to honor those players, coaches, officials and fans that display sportsmanship, because Good Sportsmanship makes Great Sports!