Asheville City Soccer Club Launches “Just Play” Initiative


Anyone can play. Anytime, anywhere. All you need is a ball.

Asheville City Soccer Club is proud to introduce "Just Play,” an initiative 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.

“From our Club’s launch in 2017, we aspired to present a local solution to the effort in American soccer to produce players who can compete on the world stage,” says ACSC President Ryan Kelley, “The United States has won three World Cups, and we know from the women’s side and countries around the world what it takes to produce world class talent,” says Meghann Burke, Director of Public Affairs.

Just Play is founded with the belief that playing soccer leads to positive outcomes across a wide range of areas, including health, academic achievement, psychological well-being, and future career success.

“With Just Play, we seek to strip the game down to its purest form, to bring back the simplicity that makes soccer the beautiful game. We believe that the next generation of American soccer must be as diverse, creative, and resilient as the game demands if we are to compete on the world stage.”

Just Play is implemented through four pillars that focus on what makes the world's game beautiful: its simplicity.

Pillar 1: 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.

Pillar 2: Play anywhere. The world over, the game is played in streets, alleys, and on dirt patches. Beginning this fall, Asheville City will feature open play pickup at Open Streets Asheville and will support street soccer and pickup games throughout our community.

Pillar 3: 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.

Pillar 4: Get inspired. Asheville City renews its commitment to free or discounted admission to all games for children 12 and under.

Asheville City Soccer Club features premier women’s and men’s soccer in the WPSL and NPSL, respectively. Both teams call Memorial Stadium in downtown Asheville home. The men kickoff vs. Myrtle Beach on Friday, May 4 at 7pm, and the women kickoff vs. Chattanooga on Saturday, May 5 at 7pm. Game day tickets are $10, and children 5 and under are free. For more information, visit

More than 250 athletes test their limits in Asheville CrossFit competition

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Cheers, determination and a whole lot of sweat poured from athletes at the WNC Agricultural Center where the inaugural Appalachian Games, a CrossFit competition hosted by Asheville’s Summit CrossFit, was held on Saturday.

More than 250 CrossFit-enthusiasts signed up to test their limits on deadlifts, pull-ups, snatches, and other exercises. CrossFit is a fitness program based on performing functional movements at a high intensity.

Athletes competed in teams of four in four different WODs (workouts of the day) and were scored based on a combination of reps completed, calories burned and time. Individual tests could also earn more points for one’s team.

Teams, with clever names such as Flex Appeal, Hakuna Masquata or Buns n’ Guns, were divided into men’s, women’s and co-ed brackets as well as broken into scaled competition, athletes who modified to a slightly lower weight for exercises and RX competition, athletes using heavier weights.

The event also featured vendors, who offered catered food for athletes and spectators.

The final WOD, aptly titled “One More,” tested the athletes requiring them to sprint around the Expo Building carrying a weight and then as a team complete 75 each of deadlifts, pull-ups, reps of lifting a barbell from shoulder to above their heads and lifting their toes to a pull-up bar all before finishing a 600-meter run. The aim was to finish in the fastest time.

For non-CrossFitters the workout could sound daunting, but the teams faced the challenge head on. Almost every team made it back to their station before the 15-minute time cap. One team of women, named the Silver Bullets for their declared advanced age, even completed the challenge while sporting fake mustaches to disguise their true identities from the competition. 

Biltmore Volleyball Academy Gears up to Host the 22nd Annual Jr. Hi Neighbor Tournament

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Biltmore Volleyball Academy Gears up to Host the 22nd Annual Jr. Hi Neighbor

Tournament play will showcase tops teams from across the region


Asheville, NC – April 6, 2018 – Biltmore Volleyball Academy (BVA), Western North Carolina’s premiere volleyball club, will host the 22nd Annual Jr. Hi Neighbor Volleyball Tournament throughout Asheville and the surrounding areas on Saturday, April 14 and Sunday, April 15. The Carolina’s first two-day tournament draws over 100 teams and an estimated 3,500 players, coaches and attendees from across the southeast. Admission is $4 per day or $7 for a two-day wristband. Children 18 and under are admitted free.

BVA, the longest running club in Western North Carolina, is known for hosting a top-notch tournament. The Jr. Hi Neighbor Tournament is the largest volleyball competition in the area for young women ranging in age from 13-18 years old. Tournament play is broken into five divisions including 12/13, 14, 15, 16 and 17/18. Spectators are encouraged to attend and watch the highly competitive matches.

“This year’s tournament has 115 teams participating, which not only has an economic impact for Asheville, but an impact on volleyball in Western North Carolina. The tournament will showcase the talent that we have here in WNC along with talent from around our region," states Tournament Director, Rhesa Edwards.

Formed in 1995, BVA has created an exceptional club equipped with the most experienced coaching staff in Western North Carolina. Current staff includes former and current college coaches and players from Florida Tech, East Carolina University, Campbell University, Eastern Connecticut State, UNC Asheville, Mars Hills University, Montana State University, Barry University and Winthrop. The staff is dedicated to enriching young women’s lives through development, education and fitness in the sport of volleyball and preparing them for elite collegiate play. The club has played a strong role in producing some of the highest caliber volleyball athletes in WNC. In addition to tournament and travel competition, the club regularly hosts clinics, training sessions, summer camps and even private training sessions.

To learn more about Biltmore Volleyball Academy and the Jr. Hi Neighbor Volleyball Tournament, please visit them at and on Facebook at The tournament action will be held throughout the region, including locations such as Mars Hill University, Asheville High School, North Buncombe, AC Reynolds, and Hendersonville High Schools.

About Biltmore Volleyball Academy

BVA is a nonprofit organization founded in 1995 to promote and enhance volleyball in Western North Carolina by providing a safe and enjoyable atmosphere for all ages and levels to develop. BVA is the premiere club in WNC offering the highest level of coaching, including UNCA, Mars Hill College and area high school coaches. The Jr. Hi Neighbor Tournament provides scholarships for local athletes through the Jordan Hodges Scholarship Fund, for players who demonstrate a passion and commitment to the sport and are in need of financial assistance. The Fund is in memoriam of the promising young volleyball player Jordan Hodges, who was killed in an automobile accident in 2009 at the age of 14. To honor her and help others follow their dream to play volleyball, over a hundred scholarships have been awarded since its inception.


The Inaugural Ville to Ville Craft Brew Relay Set For April 14, 2018


The Inaugural Ville to Ville Craft Brew Relay


Asheville, NC - April 2018 – Asheville is set to serve as the destination for an exciting new adventure race. The Ville to Ville Craft Brew Relay will take place on April 14, 2018, with teams of runners covering 73 miles of scenic byways between Asheville, NC, and Greenville, SC.

This unique relay is designed to celebrate the region’s outstanding craft beer

tradition and its majestic natural beauty. "Our goal," states director Zack Hall, “is to deliver a top-notch event people can do with their friends, that matches the breathtaking beauty of this region.”

Fifteen hundred runners and beer enthusiasts from 35 states, D.C, and Canada will start their day-long journey at the historic Highland Brewing Company, Asheville’s first brewery. Teams of six runners will each run two legs ranging from 3.5 to nearly 10 miles along the course. Every team will utilize a support vehicle along the 73-mile course, transporting runners from one designated transition area to the next. The first leg will run from Highland Brewing Company to the popular Mountains to Sea Trail and the Blue Ridge Parkway before heading south. Stops along the course include Fletcher, Hendersonville, East Flat Rock and Travelers Rest, SC as runner’s head towards a festive finish line celebration in Downtown Greenville, SC.

“We are excited to be one of the host cities for this new event which will bring in athletes from across the country,” said Demp Bradford, Executive Director of the Asheville Buncombe Regional Sports Commission. "You can never totally quantify the impact of an event, but we find that new sporting events like this expose individuals to our community and their experiences in Asheville encourage them to return to enjoy the area again. We welcome all of the runners and hope that they have a great experience and return for next year’s event,” he added.

Interest in the event has been high since it was announced, as the race filled its available 250 team slots less than three days after opening registration in March of 2017. Similar relay races exist across the nation; however, very few have a focus on craft beer. "Frankly, we were blown away by the overwhelming response," said Hall.

Although the race is sold out, the welcome reception at Highland Brewing Company is open to the public and will feature food trucks, live music, and of course lots of local craft beer. Welcome festivities run from 4 pm to 8 pm on Friday, April 13th. Registration for the 2019 event begins on April 16th with a limited number of 350 teams. More information about the relay can be found at


Fed Cup Asheville: USTA Team Announcement








Fourth member of Team USA to be Announced Next Week


WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., Jan. 23, 2018 – The USTA and United States Fed Cup Captain Kathy Rinaldi today announced that former world No. 1 and 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams, fellow former world No. 1 and seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams, and 2017 US Open and Australian Open semifinalist and world No. 9 CoCo Vandeweghe will represent the U.S. in the 2018 Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Group First Round against the Netherlands.   

The best-of-five match series will be played at the U.S. Cellular Center in Asheville, N.C., Feb. 10-11, on an indoor hard court. This is the first time that Asheville is hosting Fed Cup. The U.S. team comes to the city after winning its record 18th Fed Cup title in November against Belarus, 3-2, in Minsk. This was the U.S.’s first Fed Cup title since 2000.

Captain Rinaldi will announce the final member of the four-player roster next week. The Netherlands team will also be announced next week.

Play begins on both Saturday, Feb. 10, and Sunday, Feb. 11, at 12:30 p.m. ET. On Saturday, two singles matches will take place. On Sunday, play will continue with two reverse singles matches and the doubles match. A revised schedule for Sunday may take place if a team clinches in the third or fourth match. Tennis Channel will present live daily coverage.

Limited tickets are still available and may be purchased by visiting or by calling 888-334-USTA (8782). Both single-day and two-day ticket packages are available. Two-day ticket packages for both Saturday and Sunday range from $50 to $190 ($25 to $95 per day), representing the greatest initial ticket value. Single-day tickets for Saturday or Sunday play are available from $30 to $100 per day. 

While tickets are going fast, numerous community events will take place over Fed Cup week to celebrate the team coming to Asheville, which will be announced at a later date.

The U.S. Fed Cup team has played in North Carolina on three prior occasions, holding a 2-1 record in the state. The U.S. competed last in North Carolina in 2002, in Charlotte at the Olde Providence Racquet Club. The team also played in Raleigh in 1999 at the Raleigh Racquet Club, as well as in Wilmington in 1995 at Trask Coliseum.

The U.S. holds a 6-2 head-to-head record over the Netherlands in Fed Cup play. The U.S. last faced the Netherlands in the 1998 World Group First Round in Kiawah Island, S.C., sweeping the tie, 5-0. The Americans’ only losses to the Dutch came in 1968 and 1997.

World No. 5 Venus Williams, 37, continues to be at the top of her game, reaching the final of Wimbledon and the Australian Open in 2017 with a semifinal showing at the US Open. Last year, Williams had the 13th Top 10 season of her career and finished 2017 in the Top 5 for the first time since 2010. In 2013, Williams re-entered the Top 20 for the first time since revealing that she had been diagnosed with Sjogren’s Syndrome, an autoimmune disorder. Williams is a seven-time Grand Slam singles champion and has won 49 career WTA singles titles. She has been ranked No. 1 in both singles and doubles. Williams holds a 23-4 overall record in Fed Cup competition, including a 19-2 record in singles, and was a member of the title-winning team in 1999. She is competing in her first Fed Cup tie since February 2016. In Olympic play, Williams has won three gold medals in doubles (with Serena) in 2000, 2008 and 2012, and she captured the singles gold medal in 2000. Follow @venuswilliams on Instagram and @Venuseswilliams on Twitter.

Vandeweghe, 26, of Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., is ranked a career-high No. 9 in the world. Vandeweghe made Fed Cup history last year by going 8-0 in singles and doubles play to lead the U.S. team to its 18th Fed Cup championship. With six singles wins in 2017, Vandeweghe became the first American ever, since the World Group format was instituted in 1995, to win all six Fed Cup singles matches in one year. She was also the first player to win eight rubbers (six singles, two doubles) in a Fed Cup year since 1995 and only the third player in Fed Cup history to win three rubbers in a Fed Cup Final (two singles and one doubles). Vandeweghe has played in seven Fed Cup ties, holding a 7-3 singles record and a 5-0 doubles record. She reached the semifinals of both the 2017 US Open and Australian Open—her career-best Grand Slam results—and broke into the Top 10 for the first time in November. Vandeweghe also advanced to the quarterfinals of Wimbledon in 2015. She holds two WTA singles titles, both won in the Netherlands, in 2014 and 2016, as well as two doubles titles (Indian Wells in 2016 with Mattek-Sands, Stanford in 2017 with Abigail Spears). She competed in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio in women’s doubles and advanced to the doubles semifinals at the 2015 and 2016 US Open. As a junior player, Vandeweghe won the 2008 US Open girls’ singles title. Her mother, Tauna, was a member of the U.S. national team in both swimming and volleyball, and her uncle is former NBA star Kiki Vandeweghe. Follow @cocovandey on Instagram and @CoCoVandey on Twitter.

World No. 22 Serena Williams, 36, is competing in her first event since the 2017 Australian Open and since giving birth to her daughter Alexis Olympia in September. Williams won her 23rd Grand Slam title at her last Australian Open while pregnant and now holds the record for the most Grand Slam singles titles in the Open Era. Williams has won 72 WTA singles titles and has finished a season ranked No. 1 five times in her career, the last coming in 2015. She has also been ranked No. 1 in doubles in her career, holding 23 doubles titles with Venus, including 14 Grand Slam women’s doubles titles. In 2012, Williams captured the Olympic gold medal in singles and women’s doubles with Venus in London. With the Olympic singles win, Williams joined Steffi Graf as the only women to complete the career Golden Slam—the Olympics and the four Grand Slam events—and she is the only person to accomplish the feat in both singles and doubles. Williams holds a 13-0 singles record and 3-1 doubles record in Fed Cup competition, last playing in the 2015 Fed Cup World Group II First Round against Argentina in Buenos Aires. She also helped the U.S. capture the 1999 Fed Cup title. Follow @serenawilliams on Instagram and @serenawilliams on Twitter.

 Fed Cup is the world’s largest annual international team competition in women’s sport, with approximately 100 nations taking part each year. The U.S. holds an overall 149-36 record in Fed Cup competition with a 40-6 record in home ties. For more information, including access to player and historical Fed Cup records, please go to or

Keep up with Team USA using hashtag #TeamUSATennis on Facebook (@USTA), on Twitter (@USTA), and on Instagram (@USTA). Wilson is the official ball of the U.S. Fed Cup team. Deloitte is the official team sponsor of the U.S. Fed Cup Team.

 The USTA is the national governing body for the sport of tennis in the U.S. and the leader in promoting and developing the growth of tennis at every level -- from local communities to the highest level of the professional game. A not-for-profit organization with more than 715,000 members, it invests 100% of its proceeds in growing the game. It owns and operates the US Open, one of the highest-attended annual sporting events in the world, and launched the US Open Series, linking seven summer WTA and ATP World Tour tournaments to the US Open. In addition, it owns approximately 90 Pro Circuit events throughout the U.S. and selects the teams for the Davis Cup, Fed Cup, Olympic and Paralympic Games. The USTA’s philanthropic entity, the USTA Foundation, provides grants and scholarships in addition to supporting tennis and education programs nationwide to benefit under-resourced youth through the National Junior Tennis & Learning (NJTL) network. For more information about the USTA, go to or follow the official accounts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat.

For more information, contact:  Amanda Korba, Senior Coordinator, Corporate Communications, (914) 697-2219,

Asheville Citizen Times: Asheville's U.S. Cellular Center Tapped to host 2018 Fed Cup First Round Match

  United States' team celebrates during the awarding ceremony after winning the Fed Cup final match between Belarus and USA, in Minsk, Belarus, Sunday, Nov.12, 2017. United States defeated Belarus 3-2 and gained the Fed Cup title. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits) (Photo: The Associated Press)

United States' team celebrates during the awarding ceremony after winning the Fed Cup final match between Belarus and USA, in Minsk, Belarus, Sunday, Nov.12, 2017. United States defeated Belarus 3-2 and gained the Fed Cup title. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits) (Photo: The Associated Press)