Scoring on the field is nothing new to the Santa Monica United Football Club with the team finding success in their league’s State Cup and in the Southern California sectional playoffs. To score their next goal, the club will need help off the field to fundraise their travel to compete in the Far West regional cup in Utah.
For only the fourth time in the football club’s history, Santa Monica will be represented by a state cup champion at the 2018 USYS Far West Presidents Cup. However, as its namesake says, that cup is far west for these young men.
“It’s been an interesting season,” Ryan Banchik, a player for SMFC said in a phone call with the Daily Press. “We’ve been playing in tournaments all around California. It feels like every weekend, we’ve been driving two hours out or so just to play. [Far West Regional Cup] is an amazing opportunity for us. To play some of the best teams in the state … we just want to go out and represent.”
Representation will be vast in the cup, with teams ranging from Alaska, Hawaii, and Colorado participating.
To fulfill their manifest soccer destiny of playing in the cup, SMFC needs to raise roughly $6,000 more dollars of it’s $12,000 fundraising goal. The team has set up a gofundme as well as performed the tried and true fundraising form of asking random passersby at supermarkets for donations, including offering to donate flags to the Veterans Affairs on Memorial Day for donations.
Stacy Kravetz, a parent of an SMFC player, says she enrolled her son to the team to get him “to the next level” in his soccer career development, a sport he’s been playing since he was 5. She said the high-quality coaches, intensive training, and a higher level of play have kept her and her son invested in SMFC. While she says the team will find some way to get players to Utah, fundraising has helped teach her son and the team about ethics.
“The idea was to help the parents and the have-nots,” she said. “Going out and fundraising, [the players] have some skin in the game. It’s nice to have the players take an interest and own it. If they’re able to generate funding as opposed to asking, it gives them a sense of accomplishment.”
Randy Banchik, Ryan’s father, has helped spearhead fundraising for the team. Randy says money provided from fundraising will go to many things including flights, hotels, and food. While providing helps SMFC and increases the profile of the city and the sport, helping those on the team is what’s important to Randy.
“It’s rare for a local youth team to go to the next level, putting the city and kids out into a more national profile. Aside from that, the club is committed to socioeconomic diversity. It gives us a chance to take kids that wouldn’t have this opportunity a chance to travel and to play at this level. I hope the community supports their effort to get where they are.”