By MIKE ELLIS
Does a global pandemic shut down the Robbie International Soccer Tournament? Well sort of but not entirely.
True, The Robbie won’t be able to welcome upwards of 425 teams of girls and boys aged 8 through 18 to southwest Scarborough and East Toronto during the last two weekends of June, including teams that had applied this year from the United States, Barbados and Jamaica.
But that’s not holding back The Robbie from doing what it’s done every year since 1967, and that’s to make an annual donation to Cystic Fibrosis Canada.
The Robbie, organized by a volunteer committee of the Scarborough Soccer Association, has welcomed more than 10,000 teams and in excess of a quarter million players over the past decades.
Robbie “alumni” include Dwayne De Rosario, Diana Matheson, Candace Chapman and current TFC first teams players Jayden Nelson and Noble Okello.
Teams have participated from across Canada, the United States and 30 other countries.
A truly remarkable aspect of The Robbie: the referees volunteer.
On June 24, The Robbie will be making public it’s 2020 donation to Cystic Fibrosis Canada. (I have it on good authority it will be $10,000 drawn from reserves as well from teams that chose to donate a portion of their refunded 2020 application fee and other teams that chose to carry over their 2020 fee to 2021).
This donation brings total contributions from the tournament to about $1.9 million.
The Robbie donations are used to award the Robbie Research Grant for Most Promising Area of New Research. CF is a genetic disorder that makes it difficult to breathe and to digest food. Each week in Canada, two babies are born with CF and one Canadian dies of the disease.
While there is no cure – not yet – advances in diagnosis and treatment have been exceptional.
When he Robbie began in 1967 most children never lived long enough to start school. Now the median survival age is the mid-50s.
You can make a donation directly to Cystic Fibrosis Canada. Go to www.cysticfibrosis.ca and tell them The Robbie sent you.
The 2021 Robbie during the final two weeks of June will be the 55th annual event and the committee plans on making a huge comeback after this 2020 COVID-19 year put the tourney to the sidelines.
The Robbie intends to make updates on the 2021 events along with updates from Cystic Fibrosis Canada over the coming months.
For more information about The Robbie, please visit www.therobbie.ca, and also follow The Robbie on Instagram and Facebook.
The 2020 online donation presentation will be made June 24 along with a message from someone living with CF and a challenge from The Robbie to “Keep up the Spirit”.
Mike Ellis is the chair of The Robbie International Soccer Tournament Committee.