Youth Programs Look for Support
WOBM-AM'S Townsquare Tonight features two very inspiring Toms River-based youth sports topics. The first, features the The Toms River Intermediate School North 7th grade girl's basketball team known as the Toms River Starz. A team of young female athletes, who have been playing together since the 4th grade, are now headed to Chattanooga Tennessee to compete in the Amateur Athletic Union National (AAU) championships.
The second Topic has to do with Top Soccer, which pairs young disabled athletes up with volunteer High School athletes with abilities on the field to play.
In regard to the Toms River Starz, according to Coach Joe Bisogno and his daughters Noelle and Brielle Bisogno, who are team members, the climb to victory wasn't easy.
In fact, when they began playing, Noelle said "in the beginning it was really hard because, it was really like annoying because we always lost by like twenty points but we kept practicing and we got where we are today."
That's why their trek to play in the AAU Nationals in July came as a complete surprise to their dad Joe when they won the National Qualifiers a few weeks ago. "We kind of went down there, just you know, I figured we try it, it would be fun, it would be a good experience playing against the best teams around and we never expected to win. The girls just came out and played unbelievable, I mean, we beat teams that were sponsored by Nike."
However, because they don't have the backing of a large corporate donor, the Toms River Starz need to both practice and fundraise. Joe said they're hoping to raise $1,500 for each of the ten players, so there are a number of fundraisers planned.
Here's a list of fundraisers:
- Monday, June 16th they'll be at Rita's on Route 9 in Toms River from 4p.m. to 8p.m.
- June 20th they'll be at Cherry's Ice Cream on Route 9 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
- June 23rd at Chili's from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Hooper Avenue
- June 24th at Friendly's Ice Cream across the street from the Ocean County Mall from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
You can also donate a a Paypal account set up on their web site. www.eteamz.com/tomsriver/ The team can also be reached through email at email@example.com or call 732-713-6273.
"For an hour and a half, they're playing, they're enjoying themselves and you don't see a care." said Guardino.
However, the most important component of Top Soccer program are its volunteers. Guardino said they're primarily joined by volunteers from the TEAM organization, also know as Together Everyone Achieves More and they get around 5 student athletes from mostly the Toms River Regional School District High Schools but he says they need many more.
"We're trying to get Bricktown, Lacey, Jackson, Central, and Monsignor Donovan involved because we do need more volunteers because we're growing at a very fast rate," said Guardino. He said teens can also earn community service credit for volunteering.
The Top Soccer season runs for about 10 to 11 weeks from September to the middle of November and they restart in March and run to June 21st each Saturday from 12:30 p.m. until 2:30 p.m. where they play at the Riverwood Park bubble off Whitesville Road.
Get more information about top soccer at their web page www.tomsriverfc.com. You can also reach Vin Guardino's phone number is 732 270 4119.