It is more than just soccer at PISA...as a true non-profit, PISA enjoys being an important part of our community, sharing in the development of our youth and families. If your school is in need of small soccer goals, nets, or balls, let PISA know and we will try our best to help. If you are a business or individual who would like to help PISA continue our mission of serving our community, please consider a tax-deductible donation by becoming a team sponsor and/or advertising on our website. See below for some of the ways PISA has been involved with our schools,
families, and others as a way of helping and giving back.
Michael Q. McGowan Coaches Award
PISA held the very first induction ceremony at Michael's Seafood in 2015. Since then, over 20 coaches have been inducted. The award was started the season after Michael passed away after years of fighting Systic Fibrosis; in honor of Michael, his service to the community and for his belief in doing what's right for the youth. Coaches are nominated each season by their peers and awarded to those coaches with the qualities and character that best exemplify what Michael believed and what PISA represents.
(1st row) Fred Lightner (Michael's father), Robbie Shoffner, Ashley Wall, Shelly McGowan (Michael's wife) Dylan McGowan (son), Dori Lightner(Michael's mother), Chad Crandell. (top row) Carlos Garzon, Erik Graf, John Marriott, Scott Jones(VP), Perry Natallicio, Buzz Jones, Ross "Shaggy" Moore, Jason Famiglietti, Seany Payne, Mike Bennett (Pres).
Not in photo: Jill Davenport & Chris Murray
Women's College (breast cancer awareness) All-Star Game
The best women college soccer players from Wilmington area gathered to play in the inaugural PISA College All-Star Game to benefit breast cancer awareness. The game was held July 20 at Legion Stadium. Lori Drake (CFCC Women's Basketball) and Ann Suttles (breast cancer survivor) spoke to the group prior to the match about living your dream, working hard for what is important to you, and making the most of the life you have. All were moved and grateful for this day's event.
Friends of Pleasure Island State Park
PISA hands "FPISP" the 5th donation of $1,000 during the 12th Annual Sand Blast soccer tournament. Pictured L-R: Mike Bennett (Pres.), Jeff Owen (Ft Fisher Supt.), Scott Jones (VP)
SCOTT JONES & MIKE BENNETT (PISA) deliver another $1000 to Friends of Pleasure Island State Parks to help fund the start-up of this newly formed non-profit. The mission is to help sustain/improve the 2 state parks located on Pleasure Island. PISA helped originate the concept and organize the grass roots effort to form the group to help keep funds local and directly benefit these parks rather than go to the general state budget. For more information, visit the Friends of Pleasure Island State Parks website;
PISA Coach delivers smiles to Mexico
Kerinn Hall helped those in need with 100 sack-packs donated from PISA. Kerinn gave out bags to be used for groceries and other possessions. The simple gesture brought smiles and warmed hearts for those in need of them.
Soccer Wall - Mike Chappell Park
The idea, concept and labor all came from Grainger Wright who is also a Hurricanes player for PISA. This is part of his Eagle Scout project where he and members of his family and troop donated the labor to build the wall and PISA funded 100% of the materials and signage. Signs were provided by Southern Signs. The wall is at Mike Chappell Park, and is not just soccer, but multi-purpose for all sports programs to enjoy.
Coach Joey Johnson's Bolivian village trip: PISA donates, balls/shirts/smiles
In the early 1960's, hundreds of miles from civilization in the Amazon, a white man stood at the edge of a clearing extending a steel axe towards a trembling man who held a stone axe in his hand. Behind him, a small band of naked indians chanted and gripped their bows and arrows tightly, awaiting the outcome of this first contact.
Almost fifty years have passed since that day when my grandfather traded his steel axe for a stone axe and for the first time locked eyes with the people he had come to protect and love, laying the groundwork for our family history and a relationship that continues today.
Just a few weeks ago I sat with Tade, the courageous warrior who stepped forward
to meet my grandfather, who now is in his seventies and whose beautiful smile greeted me daily as i came to his hut to watch him make arrows or speak of his last hunt. My father and i had returned to bring a medical team in to help those so close to our hearts who are so far from civilization and suffering from monumental health challenges. As the Cessna airplane climbed into the sky off the little jungle airstrip; we were encouraged that so many were attended and could return to their huts along the river to healthier lives.
That is an interesting story you may say but why does this end up on the PISA website of all places? Simply put, soccer is the new passion for tribal groups across the Amazon and these friends are no exception. As I assembled necessary equipment for the trip i knew that i would need to bring in soccer equipment as they always request that i run soccer clinics for all ages and run training sessions for the men.
Now, i am not the brightest man out there and certainly one would be insane to allow me to perform even the most simplistic medical or dental procedure (Flossing can be a challenge for me) BUT i can use the beautiful game to bring a smile to the faces that need them. Mike Bennet was gracious enough on behalf of the PISA community to donate the necessary equipment to make those smiles possible.
I just wanted to thank PISA and it's members for having a broader vision than just Carolina Beach and for seizing the opportunity to help those without the simple things that we take for granted each day. My challenge to the PISA community (players, parents, coaches, and staff) is to simply recognize how fortunate we are to have what we have here at PISAeach weekend. We have healthy children playing a beautiful game at great facilities surrounded by staff, coaches, and parents that care for them. Most of the world will never experience what we at PISA experience every weekend. It is a gift.
Let's keep our focus on these huge blessings and not on the little distractions that rob us of our joy.
- Joey Johnson
Academy Staff (PISA)
Bryan College (Head Coach)
UNCW Men's Soccer (Asst Coach)
Bolivia Mission photos
PISA donates to Make-A-Wish & overcome cancer - Stewart Willard
This is the perspective from the team and how the kids have supported a very sick player. Stewart Willard, one of our team players couldn't shake what we all thought was a cold or the flu. For a couple of weeks he just didn't have the pep, winded easily and just wasn't himself.
We later learned that after local diagnosis he had been sent to Duke Medical Center for tests. At first we heard that he had fluid around his heart and was being treated for that. Then the word came that he had been diagnosed with non Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a type of cancer. Coach Billy spoke to Stewart’s mom and arranged a visit where all the kids on the team could go and visit Stewart at the Children’s center at
Duke. At last Saturdays game the team all wanted to wear Stewart’s jersey number so they painted their cheeks with the number 11. Your team obviously felt the same level of respect and wanted to show their support for Stewart and we were proud of them all.
Mike, the manager of PISA arranged to have the game ball given to Stewart and
also worked with Chad Crandell to get the Hammerheads Saturday practice ball signed by all the Hammerhead team to give to Stewart. The team had also voted at Thursday practice to select Stewart as the MVP (player or patient?). We picked up a nice trophy to award him on our visit.
On Sunday three volunteers took the whole team to see Stewart. (13 kids at a gas stop costs about $28 in snacks in case you wonder). There was a lot of comradery on the way and the official Saturday game ball was signed by the whole team. When we arrived Stewart and his mom were being visited by two of his teachers from Murray middle school. They were all sitting in the front lobby of the Children’s center. The team gave him the trophy, balls, pictures and a bag full of cards.
Overall, Stewart was in very good spirits even though we know he was weak from
the chemotherapy. We understand from his mom that this is a very treatable and
even curable cancer and we all will continue to pray for his full recovery. I understand the other cars still had kids full of energy, but in mine, by halfway back all I heard was snoring. They are all good kids and we should be proud of them.
Stewart was very happy to see his friends and after visiting for a while we all ate lunch together in the hospital cafeteria and then he took us up to show us his room. Coach Billy led the team in a short prayer asking for healing.
Stewart has made a full recovery and had his dream come true with the help of PISA and Make-a-Wish foundation to go to South Africa for the World Cup.
Other Donations/ Community outreach
Mission Trip to Bolivia: Donated clothes, Soccer balls & shirts to village children in Bolivia – Learn more about PISA Coach Joey Johnson’s passion/mission trip. (Story & photos)
Make-A-Wish Foundation: Donated funds to benefit PISA player Stewart Willard who was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. Stewart’s wish came true and traveled to South Africa to watch 2 World Cup soccer matches. (story & photos)
Special Olympics of NHC: helped with 2 goals for the Eastern Qualifiers event here in Wilmington. For more information about the local Special Olympics program contact: Tiffany Lesley. Special Olympics Tiffany.Lesley@wilmingtonnc.gov 910-341-7253.
Step Up For Soldiers: $250 fundraising effort to send packages to our servicemen & women oversees protecting our freedoms and quality of life that we enjoy every day. For more information: Thomas Russell, Step Up For Soldiers. firstname.lastname@example.org . 910-297-4981
Step Up For Soldiers: Donated Team Sponsorship (worth $250) to support the efforts of the organization to help our servicemen & women.
Athletes in Action - Leukemia Research: $500 toward American Leukemia Foundation research
American Cancer Society: Donated $250 to benefit local chapter fundraising efforts.
Tornado victims: Held fundraising/food drive effort for Food Bank partner agencies to provide emergency supplies and food to benefit the tornado victims of the mid-west states. For more information on this and other efforts:
Friends of Pleasure Island State Parks: donations to help fund the start-up of this newly formed non-profit, whose mission is to help sustain/improve the 2 state parks located on Pleasure Island. PISA helped originate the concept and organize the grass roots effort to form the group to help keep funds local and directly benefit these parks rather than go to the general state budget.
Mike Chappell Park Athletic Wall: PISA funded 100% of the wall located at Mike Chappell Park, while the labor was donated by PISA Hurricane soccer player, Grainger Wright, and his crew as part of the Eagle Scout project. The wall is multi-purpose sport wall and donated for all sports programs to enjoy.
CAROLINA BEACH Elementary: Fundraiser in honor of the 2 teachers who died from the school, Vickie Holland and Paula Holland. The “Holland Hustle” took place May 15th. Race proceeds will benefit Carolina Beach Elementary School Music and Technology program in memory of two special teachers – Ms. Vickie Holland and Ms. Paula Holland. A portion of the proceeds will go to support the Physical Education department as well.
Murray Middle School: Donated Rent-A-John portable toilets at the soccer/football field for the athletes/parents since no other outside bathrooms are available. Repaired Gator for PE Dept. $600. Donated new soccer nets for the field goals.
Myrtle Grove Middle School: Donated new soccer nets for the field goals as field marking paint.
Carolina Beach Elementary: donated 2 soccer goals and soccer balls to PE Dept.
Codington Elementary: Paint machine and paint. Helped obtain the 4 soccer goals in the playground support from Dr. Skip Tyson & Stephanie Heaney Pediatric Dentistry.
Alderman Elementary: Donated soccer nets for the 2 goals in the playground.
Anderson Elementary: Donated 2 practice soccer goals and balls for the PE Dept.
Scholarship Funds: Provide over 20 hardship-scholarships for families each season.