Written By Martha Piland – MB Piland
A new partnership between the Prodigy Soccer Club and PT’s Coffee Roasting Co. will benefit Topeka-area youth soccer players in need of funding to offset their annual dues. The funding will come from the Jon Kaspar Memorial Scholarship Fund, which is provided for through sales of Flor del Sol, a special single estate blend.
The Prodigy Soccer Club created the fund in memory of Jonathan Kaspar, a member of the Club and employee of PT’s Coffee, who was killed in a car accident in the summer of 2010 at age 20. The Club established the fund shortly after Kaspar’s death to help in-need youth continue to play the game he had loved.
“We couldn’t pass up the chance to honor one of our outstanding baristas and friends,” said Jeff Taylor, owner of PT’s Coffee. “Jon would talk about the soccer games he’d played for Prodigy Blitz—how much his time at Prodigy had shaped him. He’d love the idea that we’re helping more kids hit the field and have the same experiences.”
The first 150 pounds of the Flor del Sol single estate blend was donated by Jose Antonio Salaverria, owner of Las Ranas Estate in El Salvador. Flor del Sol is a micro-lot of specifically selected and processed coffees from Las Ranas Estate, chosen for its excellence and quality.
For each 8 oz bag of the Flor del Sol single estate blend sold, PT’s Coffee will donate $1 to the Scholarship Fund. Prodigy Soccer and PT’s Coffee hope to raise $1,500, which will help as many as 10 youth play in 2012. The Flor del Sol blend is available at both of PT’s Coffee Topeka locations, as well as on their website, www.ptscoffee.com.
“We’re a nonprofit club, so the fees we have all go to benefit the kids and the game,” said Jeff Gabriel, president and administrator for the Prodigy Soccer Club’s board. “We try to save as much as we can for scholarships, but struggle to pay the fees associated with playing competitive soccer. That’s why we’re so appreciative when we have the opportunity to partner with local businesses—especially when it also helps remember one of our own. Jon was one of our best.”
The not-for-profit Prodigy Soccer Club was established in 1998 by Colby Williams, an experienced professional soccer player, and provides area youth with the opportunity to play at a competitive level under positive, professional instruction.
Since its beginning, professional trainers have provided high-quality training for Club members through regular practices and games. Today, 348 young athletes play on 29 Prodigy teams during the regular season, summer camp, academy program and winter indoor league.
The Prodigy Soccer Club operates using dues collected from players rostered with the Club. These funds pay for trainers, uniforms and other administrative costs. Part of the budget is reserved for scholarships. Each year, the Club receives 15 to 18 scholarship applications. Next fall, the Club will need to find new funding sources for scholarships not covered by the operating budget and the Jon Kaspar Memorial Scholarship Fund.
PT’s Coffee Roasting Co. began in 1993 as a single cafe. In 1997, PT’s Coffee began roasting its own specially-chosen single estate coffees under the brand of PT’s Direct Trade. Today, the company roasts more than 100 tons of specialty coffee each year for cafes and restaurants nationwide, and celebrates its Direct Trade relationships with producers worldwide.
Among the many local and national honors PT’s Coffee has won for excellence are Roast Magazine’s “2009 Roaster of the Year,” Fortune Magazine’s “17 Top Small Roasters in the Country,” Topeka Chamber’s “Small Business of the Year” and the Coffee Review’s highest-ever rating of 97 points out of 100.