Published: May 16, 2012 02:07 PM
Modified: May 16, 2012 10:29 PM
A major milestone will be marked this weekend when alumni and friends of Rainbow Soccer gather for a reunion to observe the 40th year of youth soccer in Chapel Hill.
Players today would find it difficult to envision the soccer landscape of 1972, devoid of high school varsities or any clubs for young players. Organized soccer in North Carolina was pretty much limited to college games.
Into that vacuum stepped North Carolina letterman Kip Ward and Vicky Brawley, who founded Rainbow Soccer. Along with Charlie Dorr and friends, they also helped get the first varsity program going at Chapel Hill Senior High School.
For years, Rainbow was the only game in town literally for young players and their parents who wanted to be part of organized sports without all the
Brawley assumed the leadership of Rainbow after Ward left town and headed to England to pursue an ambition in finance and banking. In her gentle grip, Rainbow Soccer continued for decades to maintain a delicate balance between excellent competition and a non-aggressive stance.
The quality of Rainbows program is attested by its alumni. Among them: Chapel Hill artist Michael Brown, the first high school All-American soccer player from the Southeast and who helped design the first Rainbow Soccer shirts; UNC soccer Anson Dorrance, who ran Rainbows original soccer camps; and Leesville Roads Paul Dinkenor, a former Rainbow coach whos built a high school dynasty over in Raleigh.
The Rainbow Soccer reunion will be 5:30 to 9 p.m. Saturday at the Cats Cradle. Anyone whos ever worn one of the leagues shirts, which come in a wide variety of colors, is welcome to attend and celebrate 40 years of local soccer, just for the fun of it.
All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be published, broadcast or redistributed in any manner.