Heartland Soccer brings families together with fashion show October 29

Get ready to rock the runway with Heartland Soccer Association’s fashion show.

A pair of shows on Sunday, October 29, at the Ritz Charles event space in Overland Park will feature local soccer folks strutting their stuff in fashions from some of the area’s best retailers.

The event is designed to bring together people from the Kansas City soccer community in a non-traditional, off-the-field gathering.

“We talk about Heartland Soccer being the largest soccer community in the country,” Heartland executive director Shane Hackett said. “When you boil down what it is, it’s all the kids that are playing, the parents, the coaches, the referees and really creating these events that are outside of going to compete on the soccer fields, to look at it as a whole community.”

Said Heartland’s special events manager Wendy Reyes said, “This kind of event really brings the community out. It’s a good way to raise money, too, because anytime someone’s kid is being showcased for any reason it’ll bring out the family members. It’s a great way to bring the whole soccer community together and to help out our local retailers.”

Dillard’s will be providing a large number of the outfits for the first show, at 3 p.m. The 7 p.m. show highlights ensembles from several local boutiques, such as Natalie M., TeaElla, Frankie and Jules, The Little Girls Store, and the boutique collective Threshing Bee.

A unique feature for these fashion shows is the grand finale will feature soccer gear, with kits and other soccer-related sporting wear provided by Dick’s Sporting Goods, Scheels, Academy Sports and Soccer Master.

“We’re actually premiering their soccer clothing,” Reyes said. “They’re going to be our finale. Where you usually see formal wear as the finale, we’re doing it differently because we’re showcasing the soccer community.”

Heartland has tried to be creative in bringing together players and family members.

“We started doing our annual gala awards, to recognize people in the soccer community,” Hackett said. “We had a 5K run. We do a night where all go out and root for Sporting KC as a community. And the fashion show is an extension of that, to get boys, girls, men, women, players, coaches, admins, everybody, to get out and walk the runway and to be able to have fun together.”

Said Reyes, “The nice thing about doing all of these events, we usually only see other on the soccer field, competing. “This is a great way to get us off the field and celebrate soccer as a community. It’s a time for us to be able to dress nice and to be together and not in a competitive mode, but just to celebrate the growth of the soccer community and just have another dimension to soccer.”

Each show will feature 50 models from the soccer community.

“Kids from babies on up to 19 years old,” Hackett said. “That’s really representative of our soccer community and future soccer community with the babies, some of the little ones. We’ve got some coaches who go from their 20s and 30s, all the way up to several 60 and even 70-year olds that are going to be walking the runway from some of our member clubs. If people are involved with soccer, we want them to be out there.”

Reyes said the “great thing about our models, they’re not professional models. They’re members of the soccer community. They’re players, coaches, refs, and there’s some admin people from the soccer clubs, so there’s different people from the community.  And they love it, some of the younger kids especially.”

Hackett got the idea from the experience his own children have had modeling.

“I have four girls and a grandson,” he explained. “My girls and grandson have all, within the last couple of years, been asked to be models in fashion shows. I’ve just seen a huge response to the amateur models. I just thought to get up and walk the runway, what a neat event. And my kids are very excited to get up there and put clothes on and walk down the runway, and I thought what a great opportunity to get a bunch of our kids from the soccer community and coaches and put them up on the runway and have everybody clapping and cheering, and try to embarrass a few people while we’re at it.”

The event also has a more serious underlying purpose. The money raised will be used to benefit youth soccer players.

“We’re actually raising money for youth soccer and to promote healthy athletes,” Reyes said. “We put money back into the program. If we have a program for our youth, they’ll get more out of it and they’ll be healthier.

“Just in general, when we say ‘promote health athletes’ it’s a way to get them up and moving. The more we can put into the soccer program, the better quality program we can give to them.”

Said Hackett, “the net proceeds go to support our soccer players and our healthy athlete initiative. Besides the fact that we are soccer-centric, but at the core of this event is really supporting kids, having them be healthy, get out and play.”

Each show will last about 90 minutes with the actual runway activity about 30 minutes. The Ritz Charles catering kitchen offerings will be given away at a tasting table. There will be a cash bar and a concession area, along with space for 15 vendors where people can shop.

Three kinds of tickets available: The VIP ticket, for $45, provides front row seating, which comes with a swag bag.  “Just like the Academy Awards,” Reyes said.

Premium tickets at $30 provide second and third row seating, and general admission is $20.

For more information about tickets:

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/heartland-soccer-associations-rock-the-runway-fashion-show-2017-tickets-36278456841

“This is a way to come together as a soccer community and to celebrate our sport and promote getting up, getting moving, learning how to be a part of a team and helping promote a healthy lifestyle for kids,” Reyes said.  “It’s going to be great.”

For more information about Heartland Soccer Association, visit heartlandsoccer.net.

For more youth soccer coverage visit http://kcsportspaper.com/category/youth-sports/youth-soccer/

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Article by Marc Bowman

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