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Local soccer team wins championship, helps tornado victims

The GSA's Phoenix Red U-16 soccer team assisted in cleanup of tornado damage in Moore, Okla., while playing in a tournament there.


Special Photo A local soccer team that was recently robbed of its fundraising money is on its way home from a victorious trip to a regional championship. While on the road, the group of young men took time between games to help clean up the homes of victims affected by the tornado in Moore, Okla. Pictured here is one of the homes after the cleanup.

Special Photo A local soccer team that was recently robbed of its fundraising money is on its way home from a victorious trip to a regional championship. While on the road, the group of young men took time between games to help clean up the homes of victims affected by the tornado in Moore, Okla. Pictured here is one of the homes after the cleanup.

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GSA Phoenix Red U-16 tornado cleanup

The GSA's Phoenix Red U-16 soccer team assisted in cleanup of tornado damage in Moore, Okla., while playing in a tournament there.

The GSA's Phoenix Red U-16 soccer team assisted in cleanup of tornado damage in Moore, Okla., while playing in a tournament there.

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Special Photo A local soccer team that was recently robbed of its fundraising money is on its way home from a victorious trip to a regional championship. While on the road, the group of young men took time between games to help clean up the homes of victims affected by the tornado in Moore, Okla. Pictured here is one of the homes before the cleanup. The man in the photo is the homeowner.

MOORE, Okla. -- A local soccer team that was recently robbed of its fundraising money is on its way home from a victorious trip to a regional championship. While on the road, the group of young men took time between games to help clean up the homes of victims affected by the tornado in Moore, Okla.

"We played four games straight, and we had one day of rest," said Michael Samnik, coach of the Phoenix Red U-16 team, which is part of the Gwinnett Soccer Association. "We wanted to pitch in and help a couple of families whose homes had been devastated."

The coach said that he and the players felt "compelled by everyone else's generosity to take a day and give back."

He said the team has experienced "overwhelming financial support" from the community following an incident that occurred June 9 at Oyster Barn on Beaver Ruin Road. According to a police report, officials arrived about 5 p.m. and interviewed a witness who claimed to have seen a person wearing a motorcycle helmet smash the window of Samnik's vehicle.

Samnik, who had held a fundraiser with students earlier in the day, told police that more than $2,400 was stolen from his vehicle. Since then, Church's Chicken donated a $4,000 check to the team and actor/director Tyler Perry donated $5,000 as well.

Donating their time in Moore, Okla., seemed like the right thing to do, he said. They assisted families whose homes were "missing their foundations or half their house was gone."

"We cleaned up one gentleman's front yard in particular," Samnik said. "We pulled over and told him 'we've got 20 kids here, and we'd like to help you out.' We worked for several hours cleaning up the property."

Samnik said his team won the regional championship, giving up only one goal in six games. "It was a great trip," he said.

The Phoenix Red U-16 team is ranked No. 1 in the nation in its age group, according to www.gotsoccer.com