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Down, But Still Kicking

Soccer Team Casualty of Airlines Bankruptcy Seeks Funds


Saturday, April 19, 2008

For the second time in the history of the company, ATA Airlines filed for voluntary bankruptcy on April 3. This stall in air travel not only greatly affected the 2,230 employees who lost their jobs but also passengers traveling to and from Hawaii, as many of ATA’s flights connected the mainland U.S. with the outlying state. Although the airline policy requires ATA to refund all the ticket fees for cancelled flights, ticket holders cannot reclaim their deposits on any ATA flight until the court makes their final decision regarding the bankruptcy.

Among these ticket holders were the Santa Barbara Soccer Club U16 Boys team - a group of 18 players and their coach - which had been invited to attend a July tournament held near Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, and had made many of their flight reservations through ATA. The tickets and cost of the trip was estimated around $1,500 per player, but due to the unexpected cancellation in flights, they need to raise an extra $530 to cover the cost of new tickets, or about $9,500 total. “These boys have been playing together for a long time,” said Jennifer Lamberts- Corley, a mother of one of the soccer players. “Some have been together for four years and many of them will be seniors, so it would be devastating to them if they weren’t able to go.”

However, the team isn’t loosing hope. “We plan to raise the money and continue on with our plan to attend the tournament,” said Lamberts-Corley. With events such as kick-a-thons, or sales Subway Sandwiches and See’s Candies, the team of high school boys are doing everything possible to get to the tournament. “These boys have worked really hard to get where they are. It would be sad to see them not go because their flights were cancelled,” Lamberts-Corley said, as many of these boys will be seniors and juniors it would also be their last year playing together as a team which gives the players extra incentive to raise the extra money. The team has played together for four years and last year ascended to the gold level of the Southern California Coast Soccer League.

They are such a great group of boys, they are going to get there one way or another,” she said of the team.

Information about the upcoming fundraising events for the Santa Barbara Soccer Club U16 Boys Soccer Team will be announced soon. Anyone interested in making a financial contribution to the team can call Lamberts-Corley at (805) 574-9137.

Maude Kusserow is an Independent intern.