CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The Charlotte 49ers women's soccer team participated in the ninth annual Carolinas Walk Now for Autism Speaks at the Charlotte Motor Speedway this past Saturday. The entire 49ers team, along with a handful of parents and other family members, showed up Saturday morning for the event.

Participants walked a minimum of 4.5 miles (equivalent to three laps around the track) to raise money to support research of the disorder.The event was especially meaningful for the Niners squad, as one of the players has a sibling affected with autism. More than 9,000 people in all participated in the walk.

Autism Speaks was founded in February 2005 by Bob and Suzanne Wright, grandparents of a child with autism. The organization has grown into the nation's largest autism science and advocacy organization, dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism; increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders; and advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families.