The 1st place team at the 5th/6th grade level is shown above. Justin Wynn Fund Board Vice President John Kayaian is in the back row.       Photo courtesy of Lily Ng

On Sept. 1, a record number of players participated in the third annual Justin Wynn Fund SoccerFest at Evanston Township High School.  The 5-on-5 street soccer tournament attracted 145 players, ranging from first through eigth grades. The day was a true celebration of community and soccer as both players affiliated with area organizations such as AYSO, Team Evanston, Chicago Fire Juniors North Shore and JaHbat, came together with players not affiliated with any organization to participate in the tournament. Members of the ETHS Boys Soccer Team volunteered as coaches.

Each year a portion of the funds raised at SoccerFest are donated to a local organization chosen by the youth in the Justin Wynn leadership program. This year’s recipient is Family Focus, an organization that offers “community-based programs that help parents, grandparents, and foster and adoptive parents gain confidence and competence as the primary educators of their children.”

The Justin Wynn Fund was established in 1987 in memory of Justin Michael Wynn, who died in a swimming accident when he was nine years old. Family and friends founded The Justin Wynn Fund and later the Justin Wynn Leadership Academy with the mission “to celebrate and nurture youth leaders by helping them develop a deep sense of self and responsibility for improving their communities.”

The first place winners of this year’s SoccerFest were:

1st and 2nd Grade: Laurel Worth, Jackson Mills, Bela Holstine, Bennett Peterson, Seth Grynberg, and James Malone.

3rd and 4th Grade: Christopher Puchuela, Brody Brown, Christopher Jewett, Lukas Peterson, Lyla Katz, Divya Tulsiani.

5th and 6th Grade: Annika Kanzok, Addison Chatfield, Talia Wexler, Tyler Mills, Gable Holstine, Welcome Kaplan-Block, and William Jamieson.

7th and 8th Grade: Lee Muir, Orlando Tobin, Mekbib Boarini, Mia Darer, Reese Reynolds, and Bella Colino.