At CSO we are more than a game. We are players. We are coaches. We are Families.” It’s a saying, but it also true. Those core values were front and center on November 3rd during the U12 boys All-Star match pitting the CSO recreational all-star team against the Columbus United U12 boys. It all started with a simple question: “can we show love and support for a player’s family member struggling with breast cancer?” It became an evening of support and recognition for all the moms, and daughters, and aunts, and grandmothers who have been impacted by breast cancer.

Nationwide the probability of developing breast cancer in a lifetime is 1 in every 8 women. But every woman effected is more than a statistic. That reality hit home when Allison Whitaker the aunt of United player Arthur Dawson was diagnosed with breast cancer this year. Indeed, his whole team felt the struggle he and his family were going through. And, they wanted to help or at least let her know “we got your back.”  But how?  On the soccer field of course.

With the support of CSO,, and Sports Specialty the Columbus United boys were outfitted in brand new pink uniforms on the evening of November 3rd. Dawson’s aunt was on the sideline when the team emerged for the pre-match introduction all in pink each with a rose to give her. At the conclusion of the introduction the team went to the spectator sideline and presented Whitaker with the roses. There were hugs, and tears, but also unwavering support.

During the walkout it was noted that the evening was to show support for Whitaker and all those who have been impacted by breast cancer. It was a significant statement. Also, on the sideline was the mother of a player from the CSO All-Star team who was a breast cancer survivor, the wife of a coach who survived, and a friend who had just come to the game to see how much people cared.

CSO is not only committed to supporting its players, coaches, and families but also the community. In October CSO held its first annual “Grilling for a Cause”. The event featured multiple cooks grilling their favorite dishes for donations. The event raised $1500 in a single night for north Mississippi breast cancer charities. The second annual “Grilling for a Cause” is scheduled for October 4th, 2021.

At CSO “We Are Soccer” but we never lose focus on what is at the center of the sport. It is the people who comprise the players, coaches, and families that truly matter. Soccer is a game. Supporting people is our mission.


Tom Velek, CSO President