EAST WINDSOR, N.J. – New Jersey Youth Soccer has announced that the Ocean Township SA Under-11 Girls Surge Red team has been selected as the NJYS Respect Campaign Ambassadors for April.

Members of the team include Mia Aquino, Skylar Chase, Kerry Farrell, Quinn Khichi, Claire Laffey, Lily Papp, Everly Perna, Emma Pisciotta, Ella Pugliesi, Jordan Rose, Abby Salowe, Riley Savare and Guiliana Vitale.

The girls were selected because of their dedication to helping others and making a difference in their community through soccer. After hearing about a request by the Red Cross for the donation of soccer equipment for refugees residing at Joint Base McGuire, Dix Lakehurst, N.J. the team decided to take action. Pulling money from birthdays and allowances, the girls purchased two dozen balls that were donated to the refugees.

“Our girls hope the soccer balls give 24 young refugees in an uncertain situation a reason to smile,” said Megan Khichi, a parent on the team. “It’s a tangible way for these third and fourth graders to make a difference and help cheer up kids in need.”

The balls were donated to Dogtopia in Tinton Falls, N.J. one of the drop-off locations for the Joint Base/Afghan refugees organized by the NJ Veterans Chamber of Commerce through the Red Cross.

The Surge Red is the first to be named Respect Ambassadors through the NJYS Respect Campaign, which launched in April. The Respect Campaign, which was recently featured by NBC New York, is designed to improve the local soccer community and the experiences of all involved, both on and off the field.

To get involved with the NJYS Respect Campaign, all members of the NJYS community are urged to recognize and acknowledge acts of respect by players, coaches, parents, referees and administrators. If you observe someone taking the extra step to promote a more respectful atmosphere in youth soccer, we encourage you to nominate them as a NJYS Respect Ambassador by filling out this link: CLICK HERE

To further promote respect in the game, NJ Youth Soccer also encourages the soccer community to post a picture on social media that portrays and describes the observed respectful act. Make sure to use the hashtag #NJYSRespect and tag @NJYouthSoccer on the post so they can be recognized by our state association.

The goal of the NJYS Respect Campaign is to improve the soccer culture as well as decrease the frequency of required disciplinary measures and reports of abuse from competition in member leagues. This is not a temporary campaign but an ongoing commitment to improve behavior in NJ Youth Soccer.