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Friendship Thursday and Celebration Saturday Update

After consultation with Tripp, Phil and the Board, it has been decided that all Select team practice and training sessions scheduled for Thursday, August 17 are hereby cancelled. In place thereof, and in honor and in memory of Ashley Dent, we encourage each team to gather their coaches, managers, parents and players in a relaxed social setting of their choosing and smile and laugh and enjoy each other's company and friendship just as Ashley taught so many around her to do. If teams are not able to so gather as a whole, we encourage players and their parents to do so around their own kitchen tables to enjoy each other's love and support.

As Ashley fought for her life over the last five days, the support and care she received from those she touched during her 15 wonderful years of life came back ten fold. On the "Team Ashley" t-shirts which miraculously appeared at the hospital Tuesday night to be worn by her supporters there appears a red heart adjacent to these words "A friend is someone who reaches for your hand and touches your heart". How well put and how well said for that was Ashley Dent. And in death, take comfort that Ashley will continue to touch the lives of others as her family announced to her supporters this afternoon that they had made the decision that her organs were to be donated to seven unknown recipients elsewhere in need.

Our Columbia United family and other families throughout our Columbia and Lexington communities are hurting and need healing. What better way to help the healing begin than through fellowship and friendship amongst our membership and your family members. So please, use Friendship Thursday as an opportunity to focus not on soccer itself, but more importantly, on the wonderful friendships and support it creates amongst our young people and their families.

As the healing process begins, please know Mr. and Mrs. Dent are most appreciative of the love and support they are receiving from so many longtime friends and new acquaintances. Of utmost importance, they want each family in our Club to be doing exactly what it needs to enjoy life to the fullest come this weekend.  For those Club members who will be participating in the Carowinds tournament, by all means, realize you are doing exactly what Ashley would want you to be doing on any given Saturday, come rain or shine, and so do your best to enjoy your play to the fullest. Players should play assured, coaches should coach assured and parents should cheer assured - for you will be celebrating life in one of your favorite ways!

For those families who are interested in visitation and the celebratory service, because Ashley loved her friends, loved having fun and loved seeing her friends happy, not sad, The Dents desire for everyone's healing to begin in as joyous a setting as possible. To that end, they have decided to forgo having visitation Friday night and will instead have a visitation opportunity at the church following the service. Service begins at 11a.m. at Good Shepard Lutheran Church located at 3909 Forest Drive in Columbia . All are reminded attire is to be comfortable. Soccer shirts, shorts and flip-flops are expected; suits and black clothing are not!

In lieu of flowers, Mr. and Mrs. Dent request donations be made to The Ashley Nicole Dent Memorial Scholarship Fund they have established in her name through Bank of America. Please be sure to check Friday's State Newspaper for more details.

Finally, please know that all Region III Premier League matches in Greensboro, North Carolina for the U15 Girls Elite team, the U16 Girls Elite team and the U18 Girls Elite team have been cancelled for this weekend. They will be rescheduled for a later date. Additionally, we ask each coach of the 11 teams scheduled to play in the Carowinds Tournament in Charlotte make sure that any child who desires to be present at the Celebration ceremony be given accommodation even if that means you may need to forfeit a match or start a match with less than eleven players. Your coaching expertise should pull your team through anyway!

To everyone, thank you for your continued support. There are many Columbia United FC players, male and female, young and old, far beyond Lisa, Cheryl and Devon, and corresponding parents, who are hurting inside much more than most will never know. Each and every one of them is in need of your continued thoughts and prayers not just this week but in the weeks and months ahead.

With Sincerest Appreciation,

Ron Tryon
President
Columbia United FC

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