Donors step forward to save soccer season

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NAUGATUCK — A nameless, faceless opponent took a cheap shot against the entire Naugatuck Youth Soccer organization.

But a team of local attorneys stood up to protect the goal.

Late last month, leaders of the NYS league discovered that someone apparently stole aluminum pieces of the group’s goal posts, meaning the fall season was in jeopardy if the organization did not find a way to replace the missing parts.

Last Thursday, the league announced that 11 local attorneys have donated $10,000 to the organization, enough to replace the missing pieces that hold the goal posts together.

“This has reinvigorated our board and made us realize again how important this league is to the people in our community,” said Roger Simoes, a coach and board member who handles purchasing for the organization.

Attorneys Rosa Rebimbas, Kevin McSherry, Edward “Ned” Ftizpatrick, Pete Mariano, Carlos Santos, Cesar Sousa, Fred Dlugokecki, Andrew Morrissey, Dave Morrissey, M. Leonard Caine III and N. Warren “Pete” Hess have pooled money to donate to the league. Simoes said various other donors have stepped up for the organization.

Rebimbas, a Republican how is Naugatuck’s state representative for the 70th House District, said she donated because the children in the league were innocent victims.

“They should not suffer because of some irresponsible individual who thought of his or her own needs over the needs of the children,” Rebimbas said. “Still, I look forward to the Naugatuck Police Department finding the culprit and making sure they pay for what they took.”

Hess, who is the Democratic endorsed candidate for mayor, said he donated because it was simply the right thing to do.

Simoes said the personal stories that donors gave about how much they have benefited from NYS in their lives was inspirational.

“The kindness that people have shown has been amazing,” he said. “We cannot thank people enough.”

Naugatuck Youth Soccer President Ed Croft said the season will start on schedule Saturday.

“The support from the Naugatuck community, vendors, surrounding soccer clubs and Connecticut businesses has been nothing short of amazing. We will be putting together a huge thank you to all that assisted us to get back in time for our season kickoff,” Croft said.

Croft also thanked the media, which helped let people know the goal posts were missing, and the borough for their help.

“The Naugatuck Parks Department and the Naugatuck Police Department have done everything they can to assist us with putting together the facts to try and find the [person or persons] who did this horrible act,” Croft said.

Croft said the organization has already exceeded the money it needed to replace the goal posts. Any additional donations will be used to help ensure no more goals are stolen, he said, and help players.

“Nothing will go unused and will be allotted to future projects to help NYS and the community of Naugatuck,” he said.

Luke Marshall contributed to this article.