Soccer community turns out for Cassy Rowe

Tournament brings teams together for a great cause
By: Brett Ransford, Press Tribune Correspondent
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Community support fosters community involvement.  This was certainly true last weekend in Roseville and Folsom as local support for Cassy Rowe saw its largest showing to date.


The second annual Cassy Rowe Benefit Tournament for the local soccer player expanded from last year as the tournament was held at five different locations including Roseville High, Woodcreek, Oakmont and the City of Folsom’s Kemp and Livermore parks. 


While the 66 teams got checked in Friday, the weekend’s festivities kicked off with an exhibition game at Woodcreek featuring the women’s professional team, the Sacramento Storm, and the San Juan U18 girls team. 


Since her injury on Aug. 16, 2008 where Cassy broke a vertebrae and has been confined to a wheelchair, she been traveling to Pleasanton to use a specialized exercise bike.  As her insurance is no longer providing such extended physical therapy the tournament goal was to raise $20,000 to bring the first bike of its type to the Sacramento area. 


More than 1,000 players (from U10 through U19 boys and girls) participated in the tournament and exhibition games Friday through Sunday.  No fees were charged for admission but donations were accepted throughout the weekend at the gate, in specified bins and from different organizations.


Rowe was able to make it out to the exhibition game as long as the cold would permit her to endure.  At the tournament she handed out trophies and watched some of the games.


“Everyone was really happy and pleased with the tournament,” Rowe said.  “A lot of people were excited to be involved and I heard some people say they were honored to meet me.  It went really well thanks to the response from the teams involved, the parents and the volunteers.”


By Sunday night Rowe had been travelling between Roseville schools and was worn out from the amount of energy the tournament took.  Her schedule began Friday morning making calls to assure the tournament was in order to begin.  Over the weekend Rowe said she tried to connect with the parents and teams by talking with everyone.


“What stood out was the players that would come up to me throughout the tournament,” Rowe said. “The planning was stressful towards the end but once the tournament started it was really satisfying to see how well the tournament went.”


Rowe’s former coach of the Sierra Xtreme, Dick Gordon, headed the committee that organized the event.


“As a coach you begin to look at all of your players like your daughters,” Gordon said. “When Cassy was injured it felt like it just as easily could have been my own. So from the onset I have tried to help the family as much as possible.  The tournament came up as an idea from Derek Evans. There were teams having car washes, sell wristbands or little things like that Derek approached me with the idea of a tournament.”


Because of that idea nearly $11,000 was raised last year in the first benefit tournament.  In addition to the tournament Gordon received materials and labor donations to modify Rowe’s home to accommodate her chair.


“We really didn’t know this was going to be an annual thing, but there was so much enthusiasm from the community that we thought we’d give it another shot,” Gordon said. “After this year we’ve decided this should be a permanent event.”


Rachael Ferneau currently plays for the Fair Oaks Freedom. The 17-year-old served as a field marshal last year and as a player this year.  At the tournament the Freedom played their last game together in honor of Rowe.


“It was significant because we were the team she was playing when the accident happened,” Rachael said.  “For me it’s nice that the benefit really paid off and we were able to go out and support Cassy.”




Many people gave their time and money in support of the Cassy Rowe Benefit Tournament this weekend.

The tournament committee extended a special thanks to referees Bill Hall and Ed Foster for helping coordinate and provide volunteer referees for the tournament.

Soccer clubs and individuals donated to the cause, some as much as $3,000, and donations are still coming in.

“We want to extend our thanks to the City of Folsom and the Roseville School District for the use of their facilities,” said tournament organizer Dick Gordon.


Donations for Cassy can be made to the:

Cassy Rowe Benefit Tournament
PO Box 1518, Carmichael, Ca 95609