When Western Carolina University alumnus Greg Boothroyd of Haywood County issued a call for donations of soccer equipment for an upcoming church mission trip to Jamaica, the women’s soccer program at his alma mater answered.
Boothroyd, a 1995 graduate of WCU who is co-owner of the Smoky Mountain News in Waynesville, is assisting daughter Molly and other members of the Long’s Chapel United Methodist Church high school youth group in collecting soccer balls, jerseys and other items to donate to a children’s orphanage in the Jamaican town of Bamboo.
After receiving a sizable contribution of jerseys, shorts and socks from Haywood American Youth Soccer Organization Region 572, Boothroyd realized that he might be able to arrange an even larger collection of items to take to the Jamaican orphanage.
That’s when he reached out to a fraternity brother, Mike Taylor, who works as equipment manager for WCU’s Catamount athletics department. Taylor connected him to Todd Herman, the Catamounts’ associate soccer coach.
Herman collected an assortment of surplus items including jerseys, soccer balls, shoes, shin guards and goalie gloves. The approximate value of the equipment if purchased new is about $3,500, he said.
“Western Carolina University’s soccer program is glad to be able to help out these young people from Western North Carolina in their efforts to spread good will to less fortunate children in Jamaica,” Herman said. “This project is especially near and dear to our hearts because, after all, soccer is the most popular sport in the world.”
Between the WCU soccer program and the local AYSO chapter, Boothroyd found himself with 42 soccer balls, eight pairs of goal gloves, four shin pads, eight pairs of shoes, four warm-up jackets, a long-sleeve goalie shirt, two large ball bags, two air pumps and 20 ball needs.
AYSO also provided 130 uniforms, each consisting of two different-colored shirts, a pair of shorts and two pairs of socks, while WCU contributed 56 Catamount soccer jerseys.
Boothroyd also collected six totes to haul the equipment and $200 in cash contributions to help pay the cost of shipping the items to Jamaica.
“I envision soccer fields full of little Jamaican children running around sporting the Catamount logo,” Boothroyd said. “The folks in the Office of Admission might want to review any applications from Jamaica very closely over the next few years.”