By DUSTIN RACIOPPI
A possible solution to a money problem could be as simple as shaking a can or putting an open hand out and asking, ‘Can you spare some cash?’
That’s not how Enrico Ciabattoni wants to do business, though.
The Peters Place resident, trying to raise funds for an end-of-summer soccer clinic at the Red Bank Middle School, is making the kids who want to be part of the camp do the work.
“I wanted it more to be the kids learning to help themselves rather than going to someone and saying, hey, can you give us some money?” Ciabattoni said.
With the help of middle school students, Ciabattoni has launched a multi-faceted fundraising campaign to hold a week-long soccer clinic to prep the middle schoolers for their opening season later this year.
On July 4, a group of students held a fundraiser in the middle school parking lot. Now, they’re selling a line of food by a company who’s mission is to raise money. In addition, students have set up a web page, along with a video, asking for the public’s support to get the clinic in action.
The group hopes to raise $3,000 to pay for trainers and soccer balls for each participant.
Ciabattoni, a long-time soccer coach who has a daughter at Red Bank Regional High School, said he’s starting the clinic to fill the gap between regular school practices and games. A week of fundamentals by highly skilled players, he said, will prime the kids for the season while sharpening their skills.
“Any coach will tell you any time you spend with a ball at your feet, it helps,” he said. “I’m trying to help the kids going into middle school, to sort of give them a leg up going into high school. I want to make that connection between the high school and middle school.”
If he finds success in this clinic, Ciabattoni said he’d like to expand the idea to other sports, which are slowly returning to the middle school after they were cut from the budget last year.
A non-profit, the Red Bank Middle School Athletics Foundation, has rallied enough financial support to bring baseball and softball back to the after-school calendar, and in the coming school year, soccer will return, Ciabattoni said.
So the kids have to be ready.
“Hopefully, that’s what the camps will do: to give them a technical foundation for their skills,” Ciabattoni said.
If enough money is raised, the clinic will run the week of August 15 for sixth, seventh and eighth grade boys and girls.