Annual Event Benefits the Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital’s Neuroscience Institute & NICU
This past summer, the Greater Memphis Soccer Association teamed up with the Mike Rose Soccer Complex to host the 2023 River City For Itty-Bitties (RIBS) Adult 7v7 Tournament. More than 800 players on 68 teams competed across the men’s, women’s and coed divisions for the RIBS Tournament, which raised funds and awareness for the Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital’s Neuroscience Institute & Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).
We recently caught up with RIBS co-founder Jessica Vinson. She shared some background on the event and spoke about the tremendous impact it has in supporting such an incredible cause. Among the amazing results of the 2023 RIBS Adult 7v7 Tournament was a record-breaking $45,000 donation in memory of Jess’ first born daughter, Rylee, and in honor of her 13-year-old daughter, Kayden, who has epilepsy.
How did the RIBS Adult 7v7 Tournament get started?
Jessica: In 2009, a couple of soccer friends and I were driving home from a soccer game and thought it would be nice to put together a charity soccer tournament in memory of my daughter, Rylee, who passed away in 2007. We spoke with representatives from our local adult soccer league, and they were all in. In May 2010, the first RIBS Adult 7v7 Soccer Tournament started with just over 20 teams. Now it averages 65-70 teams, including several teams from out of state.
How gratifying is it to see the soccer community from Tennessee and beyond come together to support this great cause?
Jessica: It is beyond gratifying to see how many people participate in our event. It honors our beautiful daughters and helps support children and their families going through what we have experienced. We never would have imagined the outpouring of support we have in our soccer community. They’re our extended family and have helped us through this and support our mission to help other families like mine.
How did you feel when you did the math after the tournament, and then got to call your friends at Le Bonheur to announce such a big donation?
Jessica: We were in shock! $45,000 is double what we raised last year, and we have now donated more than $315,000 since we began in 2010.
What are some of your hopes and aspirations for the future of this event?
Jessica: There is always the hope that more teams will want to join us and come experience our fun and important event. However, our true hope and aspiration is to help the children and families of the NICU and Neuroscience Institute at Le Bonheur. We want the best care, support and continued research to help these conditions.
Are there any additional events that are being hosted to support Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital?
Jessica: Yes! We host a 5K at Mike Rose Soccer Complex that goes towards our fundraising total called Rylee’s Run 5K. There is also an Adult Volleyball Tournament that takes place the same weekend as the RIBS Soccer Tournament, along with an online auction that runs during the week of those events. And you can already register for next year’s 5K at RyleesRun.com.
In an effort to assist fundraising efforts, the Tennessee State Soccer Association discounts player pass fees each year for the RIBS Adult 7v7 Tournament. On behalf of Jessica Vinson and the incredible team that organizes this event, we also want to acknowledge their three presenting sponsors this past year in Mellow Mushroom Germantown, Pickler Wealth Advisors and Germantown Park Family Dentistry (Mike Pulido DDS).
To contact the Tennessee State Soccer Association, please call (615) 590-2200. Also make sure to follow us on social media!