RICHMOND, VA – (Tuesday, June 20, 2017) – The Richmond Kickers and the Spence family were pleased to honor Shaan Sharma with the 2017 Avery Spence Youth Community Service Award during halftime at the Kickers pro game versus the Tampa Bay Rowdies Saturday night. Established to honor Kickers youth player, Avery Spence who was tragically killed in an automobile accident on May 1, 2011, the Avery Spence Youth Community Service Award was presented to Sharma by the Spence family based on criteria including exemplary volunteer involvement, commitment, leadership and athletic and academic achievements.
A member of the Richmond Kickers travel program since 2013, Shaan played on several elite Kickers teams and most recently, the U18 Richmond United Academy team, earning praise from his coaches on and off the field.
“Shaan is one of the kindest, most caring and most respectful young men I have coached,” commented Mark Stollsteimer, Richmond Kickers U14-U19 Boys Director. It is no surprise that he is receiving the Avery Spence Youth Community Service Award. Shaan’s commitment to academics, athletics and community service are second to none. It was an honor to coach him.”
As a four-year member of the Collegiate School varsity soccer team, Sharma served as team captain his senior year.
“Shaan took his role as co-captain of the varsity soccer team very seriously,” said Shep Lewis, Collegiate Assistant Coach. “A relentless worker, Shaan set a tremendous example for his teammates. He brought to the soccer field the same characteristics that earned him recognition in the community. He was the consummate teammate.”
Recognized as a consummate teammate by his peers as well, Sharma received the Team Award, given to the ideal teammate, following his senior year. Over his four-year career, Sharma was an important contributor to a team that made two VISAA State Semi-finals in 2013 and 2014 and the VISAA State Quarter-finals in 2016. Sharma was also a four-year member of the Collegiate Indoor Soccer team, serving as captain his senior year.
As a student, Sharma excelled in the classroom. His commitment to academic excellence was recognized in 2014 when he was awarded the William and Mary Model UN Award. At graduation, he received the Charles F. Wiltshire Award, given to a senior boy who embodies the characteristics of good citizenship in consistent, unseeking service to the school and his community.
As a Buddy with RVAccess, Sharma volunteered countless hours to provide soccer opportunities to athletes with special needs. Serving as president of the RVAccess Club at Collegiate, he was integral in organizing the Collegiate sessions and providing a fun, safe environment to both the athletes and buddies. Sharma also served as president of RAMPS (Ramps Access Made Possible by Students) during both his junior and senior years, building wheelchair accessible ramps throughout the greater Richmond community. Additionally, he volunteered with the 100 4 100 club at Collegiate, at Chippenham Hospital and at the Hindu Center of Virginia, amassing over 300 volunteer hours throughout high school. Attending William and Mary this fall, he is the son of Ruchi and Vivek Sharma.
About the Avery Spence Youth Community Service Award
Richmond Kickers President, Board of Directors Rob Ukrop presented the inaugural Avery Spence Youth Community Service award to the Spence family on July 8, 2011, to honor the memory of Kickers youth player Avery Spence and her commitment to the Richmond community. A longstanding member of the Richmond Kickers Youth Soccer Club, she started with the Kickers rec program when she was nine years old, progressing with arguably the best girls team in the Kickers Girls Elite program over seven seasons. A committed volunteer, Avery donated countless hours throughout the Richmond community, was in the academic top ten in her class at Manchester High School and was heading to Virginia Tech in the fall to pursue a career in dentistry. Avery had a love for life, sharing her time and talent with kids of all ages. Past award recipients include former Kickers players Ashley Riefner (University of Richmond), Blayne Fink (Virginia Tech), Peter Coiley (Virginia Tech), Blake Cashin (VMI) and Sawyer Gaffney (Davidson).