VERO BEACH – The Indian River Soccer Association commemorated its 25th anniversary Saturday with World Cup Soccer Celebration Day, a two-part event which recognized the progress of county’s premier soccer organization.
The Family Fun Day event kicked off at 11 a.m. with a family event at Hobart Park. An admission pice of $5 let kids played soccer, played in bounce houses, and receive airbrush tattoos for until 3 p.m. “We figured if we held an event during the day for the kids, and charged the minimum amount ($5) for unlimited play, this would generate a little revenue for the club,” said World Cup Soccer Celebration co-chair Trish Walsh. “We’re wanted to get IRSA’s name out there, get people excited about the club, and generate more interest volunteer-wise. We’re also hoping the event is something we can do on an annual basis.”
An adults only event at Spring Hill Suites capped the day’s festivities. From 7 to 11 p.m., parents, coaches, board members and sponsors enjoyed food, drinks and music before an awards and recognition ceremony. The event was originally to be held at Hobart Park, but the venue was switched to escape the elements. The silent auction which was supposed to be held at the event was rearranged to an online auction, also due to the change in venue.
Serving as the event’s MC, Frank Schlitt went out of his way to give credit to IRSA’s founding members, as well as the club’s past presidents. Schlitt handed out service recognition awards to some of the many key people who were recognized for their various contributions.
“They helped formed IRSA 25 years ago, and he is still a part of IRSA today. Jim Moran and Charlie Garrett helped form IRSA 25 years ago, and they are still part of IRSA today. These people have done what they do, just because they want to do it. They are guys who’ve made IRSA about the community instead of just about his son or daughter.”
Schlitt also made sure to give due credit to two people who were very instrumental in the creation of the IRSA soccer fields. The organization spent about $500,000 constructing the fields, and over $60,000 maintaining them throughout the year.
“We are really, really blessed to have what we have at these fields because of some of the people in this room tonight,” said Schlitt. “The people who developed the fields should at least be acknowledged. Alan Campbell and David Gregg were very instrumental in making our fields as good as they are today.”
Campbell was president of the IRSA from 1995 to 1996, and he was the catalyst for acquiring the land at Hobart Park. The club had played at five different venues in the county before finding a permanent home there.
Gregg was a retired executive who was asked to help supervise the construction of the soccer fields by his son, Jim, who’s daughter played IRSA soccer.
“Here was a guy in his 70s who was out there every day in the boiling sun,” Garrett said. I think there was a part of him, though, who loved being out there and in charge of all that heavy equipment. Unfortunately when the lights were dedicated out at the fields, David wasn’t there. He deserves a great deal of credit for being out there, and his effort needs to be rewarded. The fields would probably be 80 percent of what they are without David, but they are 100 percent of what they are today because of him.”