RICHMOND, VA – (Thursday, June 7, 2018) – The Richmond Kickers are pleased to announce that the eighth annual Avery Spence Youth Community Service Award will be presented to a youth soccer player during the Kickers pro game versus the Charleston Battery this Saturday, June 9. The Avery Spence Youth Community Service Award was established to honor Kickers youth player, Avery Spence, who was tragically killed in an automobile accident on May 1, 2011.
“Avery was one of my favorite players,” commented Rob Ukrop, Richmond Kickers President, Board of Directors. “She was the consummate team player, always early to team functions, always had a smile on her face, and always loved to compete on and off the field.”
“She also had a great gift for teaching the beautiful game to other young players throughout our community,” added Ukrop. “Avery is missed by many but we are excited to keep her memory alive through this youth community service award, inspiring other young players in our club to make a difference in the lives of others just like Avery did."
Ukrop presented the inaugural award to the Spence family on July 8, 2011, to honor Avery’s 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 the Kickers Girls Elite program over seven seasons. A committed volunteer, Avery donated countless hours throughout the Richmond community, participating in over 50 youth soccer clinics, Meals on Wheels, caroling to senior citizens, as well as working with the Kickers ADP program. She was in the academic top ten in her class at Manchester High School and had planned to attend Virginia Tech 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 youth players Ashley Riefner (2012), Blayne Fink (2013), Peter Coiley (2014), Blake Cashin (2015), Sawyer Gaffney (2016) and Shaan Sharma (2017).
Each year, the Richmond Kickers present the Avery Spence Youth Community Service Award to a youth player that has demonstrated outstanding commitment to the youth community in Richmond. Criteria are based on exemplary volunteer involvement, commitment, leadership and athletic and academic achievements.