Since 2018, our Just Play initiative has donated hundreds of soccer balls, placed our players in city recreation centers, and provided free admission to Asheville City games for kids. Now, we’re ready to take the next big step.
Just Play is becoming a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization governed by a board of influential local leaders! Just Play WNC will continue and, more importantly, greatly expand upon Just Play’s efforts to break down systemic barriers to the game in our region. In addition, Just Play WNC will administer AC Academy, a developmental youth program offered at no cost to players or their families.
Desde 2018, nuestra iniciativa Just Play ha donado cientos de pelotas de fútbol, ha ubicado a nuestros jugadores en centros recreativos de la ciudad y ha ofrecido la entrada gratuita a partidos de la ciudad de Asheville para niños. Ahora, estamos listos para dar el siguiente gran paso.
¡Just Play se convertirá en una organización sin fines de lucro 501(c)(3) gobernada por una junta de influyentes líderes locales! Just Play WNC continuará y, sobre todo, ampliará en gran medida los esfuerzos de Just Play por derribar las barreras sistémicas de este deporte en nuestra región. Además, Just Play WNC administrará AC Academy, un programa de desarrollo para jóvenes sin costo alguno para los jugadores o sus familias.
Corey Atkins - President
Corey Atkins is Vice President of Public Policy and General Counsel for the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce. In that role, he serves as liaison for the WNC business community to elected officials and leaders. Corey earned his bachelor’s degree from American University and is a graduate of University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill law school. He began his career as an Assistant District Attorney for Mecklenburg County and moved to Asheville in 2010 to start a private practice focused on litigation, defense, and business and government relations. In 2019, he was awarded the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives 2019 40 Under 40 award which highlights the brightest men and women under the age of 40 in the chamber industry. Corey is Chair of the Civic Center Commission and also a board member of the Asheville/Buncombe County Sports Commission. Corey and his family love taking advantage of the many outdoor activities Asheville has to offer. He enjoys live music, frequenting all the great local breweries and restaurants and of course, rooting on the Blues!
Yolanda Fair is an Assistant Public Defender with the Office of the Public Defender of the 28th Judicial District. She has been with the office since 2013 and has represented both youth and adults. Yolanda attended the University of North Carolina School of Law and Tufts University. In her role as Assistant Public Defender, Yolanda also serves as chair of the Buncombe County Criminal Justice Equity Workgroup, a group of criminal justice stakeholders committed to achieving an equitable criminal justice system. Outside of work, Yolanda enjoys volunteering with Buncombe County Teen Court program, the UNC Law Pro Bono Program, and local non-profits.
Michael Doughten is a retired analytical chemist. He and his wife Teri, a retired teacher, moved to Asheville in 2019. He spent 37 years working for the U.S. Geological Survey in Reston, VA, the last 22 as lab manager and lead chemist for the National Research Program, Eastern Region, Water Resources Division. He is a graduate of George Mason University, go Patriots! He was an assistant coach in youth soccer and is a fan of ACSC and Liverpool Football Club. He is also a member of ACSC’s supporters group The South Slope Blues.
Stacey Enos is an owner of Asheville City Soccer Club, local realtor with Mosaic Realty, and is deeply involved with the game of soccer in the area. In college, Enos played for the North Carolina Tar Heels from 1982 to 1985 and helped win the school’s first three NCAA national championship titles in 1982, 1983, and 1984. Enos made her international debut for the United States on August 18, 1985 in the team's inaugural match against Italy. In total, she made ten appearances for the U.S., earning her final cap on July 26, 1986. In 2006 she was honored as a "Pioneer of the Game" by the North Carolina Soccer Hall of Fame. In 1994, Enos began working as an assistant coach with the Seattle Redhawks women's soccer team, before becoming the head coach of the Utah State Aggies in 1996. In 2001, she joined Warren Wilson College in Asheville, North Carolina to serve as the athletic director and head coach of the women's soccer team, where she remained until 2017. She also served as the director of Highland Football Club from 2001 until 2004. In 2018, she served as the inaugural head coach of the Asheville City SC women's team in the WPSL, where she won the South Region Carolinas Conference Coach of the Year award. Stacey continues to grow the game with her wife Annie and their son Gabriel.
Lillian Govus, APR leads the Communications and Public Engagement Department for Buncombe County in North Carolina. Previously, she served as the Director of Community Relations and Communications for Salem-Keizer Public Schools, the second largest public school district in Oregon. She has more than 15 years of experience in communications working for large educational institutes, governmental entities and legislators. Lillian led communications for two large urban school district in North Carolina and Georgia, and also the City of Atlanta's Department of Watershed Management. Lillian is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and began her career in the same city as a sports reporter with the News & Record, a mid-size daily newspaper. Lillian also played soccer her whole life, making an appearance with the Greensboro Twisters W-League team and refereeing NCAA soccer for more than a decade.
Peyton O’Conner (they/them) is the Parks and Recreation Director for Buncombe County and member of the Asheville City Schools Board of Education. They are a Certified Nonprofit Professional and a Certified Parks and Recreation Executive. Peyton has worked with other inclusive sports efforts including Special Olympics of Buncombe County and Stonewall Sports Asheville. They share a blended family with five children (Eila, Samara, Ezekiel, Oren and Cullen) with their wife Shannon and two hounds (Ira and Yarrow) and enjoy gardening and the outdoors.
Steve Woody grew up in Asheville’s Oak Forest community off Hendersonville Road and played soccer as a student at T.C. Roberson High School and UNC-Asheville. Since 1997, Steve has assisted more than 30 companies with regulatory support and strategic planning necessary for their launch of new or modified medical devices. In 2006, Steve formed Avadim LLC, headquartered in Asheville. He has continued to play a role in the Asheville soccer community and, along with several others, gave the needed money to open the old Pepsi Soccer Center on Crowne Plaza Road. Steve was also an owner of Asheville’s first national amateur soccer team, founded in 2001, the Asheville Splash. Steve is joined on life’s pitch by his wife, Cindy, and their six children - Maggie, Jordan, Chloe, Logan, Jake, and Elsa.
Just Play began as an initiative of Asheville City Soccer Club in 2018 to broaden access to soccer in our hometown, Just Play strives to break down systemic barriers in American soccer, starting in our own neighborhoods. Imagine every kid in our community having a soccer ball, pick up games in the street or any available space, and a style of play in Asheville that is as diverse and electric as the global game. Just Play is implemented through four pillars that focus on what makes the world’s game beautiful: its simplicity.
All you need is a ball. Asheville City will donate a ball to an economically disadvantaged youth in our community in the name of every season ticket holder.
Play anywhere. The world over, the game is played in streets, alleys, and on dirt patches. ACSC will support street soccer and pickup games throughout our community.
Connect with role models. We know it matters when kids see role models who look like them and have shared experiences. The world’s game is diverse and so is Asheville City Soccer Club, and we will play with and teach the game to youth citywide.
Get inspired. ACSC renews its commitment to free or discounted admission to all games for children 12 and under.
Just Play is made possible by our partners: Nike Soccer, Lloyd’s Soccer, Asheville Buncombe Adult Soccer Association, Asheville Buncombe Youth Soccer Association, Highland Football Club, Asheville Shield, YMCA of Western North Carolina, City of Asheville Parks and Recreation, Buncombe County Parks and Recreation, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Western North Carolina.