UP women's soccer team wins Spirit of Portland award
The University of Portland women’s soccer team has been named a recipient of a 2012 Spirit of Portland award, joining 18 other individuals and organizations that “have helped make Portland a better place.” Spirit of Portland awards have been given annually by the City of Portland since 1985 to recognize those who have made a positive difference in the community.
Portland City Commissioners Nick Fish, who nominated the team, and Amanda Fritz will present the Spirit of Portland award on Sunday, October 7 at 1.p.m. at Merlo Field during a pre-game ceremony before the Pilot women face San Diego State.
Awards are chosen from nominations submitted by Portlanders, by a selection committee of representatives from the Neighborhood District/Coalition offices, Business Associations, non-profit community organizations, the Mayor’s and City Commissioners’ offices, the Office of Neighborhood Involvement and past award winners. In addition, the Mayor and each City Commissioner recognize individual and organizational leaders.
“These student athletes are role models in our community,” said Commissioner Nick Fish, who selected the UP women’s team for a Spirit of Portland award. “I am grateful for their service, including their support of Harper’s Playground, and I am proud to nominate this group of outstanding young community leaders.”
Harper's Playground is a new, inclusive and accessible playground in Arbor Lodge Park (located less than two miles from the UP campus). Inspired by six-year-old Harper Goldberg, who was born with Emanuel Syndrome, the Pilots launched a season-long silent auction in 2011 and raised $5,000 for the playground. This season, the team is donating tickets and other items to raise additional funds.
“This is another great honor for our program,” Portland women’s soccer head coach Garrett Smith said. “We have always tried to represent the City of Portland in the best ways possible and community service initiatives have been a key part of our culture. It is the least we can do to give back to our community, which provides the University unparalleled support and makes our soccer program so unique.”
The 2012 Spirit of Portland award winners will be recognized by the Portland City Council at the 27th annual awards event on Monday, October 29, from 7 to 9 p.m. at the DoubleTree Hotel at the Lloyd Center, 1000 N.E. Multnomah Street, Portland, Oregon. All are welcome and encouraged to attend. A reception with refreshments will follow the awards presentation. The event will be broadcast live on Cable Channel 30, thanks to Portland Community Media.
“The Spirit of Portland awards are Portland’s Oscars. They are a tribute to the many amazing community and neighborhood leaders who contribute to our thriving civic life in Portland,” said Commissioner Amanda Fritz, Commissioner-in-charge of the Office of Neighborhood Involvement.
The University of Portland women’s soccer program has had a long history of volunteer service at the Ronald McDonald House (RMH) and expanded that into a fundraising campaign to ‘Adopt-a-Room’ during the fall of 2008 at Legacy Emanuel Hospital campus. With a goal of raising $5,000, the team was able to secure a total of $7,000 over a three-month period and now have a UP soccer sponsored room at the house. The program committed to maintain the room over a five-year period and continues volunteering to cook dinners and be available for other requests from the Ronald McDonald House staff. The RMH fundraising effort was chronicled by ESPN during the fall of 2008.
Danielle Foxhoven – an All-American on the team and 2011 graduate – founded Equipment across Continents, which serves as a low cost provider for new and used sports equipment to underdeveloped countries across the world. All proceeds – 100% – go towards funding shipments of used sports equipment to Coaches Across Continents so that they may be used as educational tools for children in developing countries.
In addition to fundraising efforts for local non-profits and charities, the team also continues to have a strong community presence in various capacities. Players often volunteer without notice to serve food to the homeless, or randomly show up to youth soccer games of children they have previously coached during a summer camp. Current and former players dedicate a good portion of their free time serving as youth coaches in various soccer clubs throughout the city. The UP women’s soccer team has served as role models, mentors, and heroes to many of the children that watch them play.
The program also brings a sense of pride and community to the city. The Pilots have led the nation in women’s soccer attendance every year since 2005, have won two NCAA Division I national championships (in 2002 and 2005), and several alumni have played starring roles in international soccer at the Women’s World Cup and Olympic games for Teams USA and Canada.