A Waynesville youth group preparing for a mission trip to Bamboo, Jamaica, was looking for ideas for gifts to take to the town’s children. Anything related to soccer would be ideal, they thought. Soccer is a hugely popular sport in Jamaica that opens doors of opportunity for many impoverished youths. But how to go about getting some equipment? Greg Boothroyd ’95 (left), whose daughter is a member of the Long’s Chapel United Methodist Church youth group, issued a call on social media for donations of used soccer gear. To his surprise, offers poured in. Some local soccer teams had ordered new uniforms with updated logos and colors and would be happy to give their old ones to the cause. The Haywood American Youth Soccer Organization gave dozens of jerseys, shorts and socks. When Todd Herman (right), the Catamounts’ associate soccer coach, heard about the effort from Boothroyd’s fraternity brother Mike Taylor, equipment manager for WCU athletics, he gathered bundles of surplus WCU items. By the time the Long’s Chapel youth set off on their trip in July, they had collected close to 300 pounds of soccer-related goods, plus enough cash donations to pay to transport the items. Boothroyd served as one of the chaperones on the trip and helped make the delivery that benefited nine schools and orphanages. “Everywhere we went, the kids would be there waiting for us,” he said. “We were told that some of them had been playing with homemade balls filled with leaves and grass. When they saw that we were bringing real equipment, they were so excited they went nuts.” Jamaica’s top youth soccer coach, Jerome Waite, was thrilled with the quality of the balls and contacted the mission group via a conference call to say thanks. “You could hear this overwhelming happiness in his voice,” said Boothroyd, co-owner of the Smoky Mountain News in Waynesville. “He told us the gift was not just helping a few schools, churches and orphans, it was helping to lift the whole country of Jamaica.”