Members of the New York Red Bulls and Major League Soccer will travel to Newtown, CT on Monday to raise funds for the families affected by the tragic Dec. 14 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, league officials announced.
Soccer players will use the event to help raise attention, support and funding for these families with “Soccer Night in Newtown.”
The shooting, which killed 27 people, including 20 children, had an especially strong impact on San Jose Earthquakes’ player Marcus Tracy, who grew up in Newtown and whose mother once taught at the school.
Residents and members of the Newtown Youth Soccer Club have been invited to attend and meet professional soccer players including Red Bulls players Kenny Cooper, Ryan Meara and Heath Pearce.
“It’s hard to imagine what the families of the victims and the community must be going through at this time,” Pearce said. “Nothing we do can change the outcome of the events, but we will do whatever we can to support them and help in any way possible.”
The event will focus on banding together as a community and enjoying the game rather than focus on “the ugliness of recent events,” Major League Soccer said on its website.
In addition to a memorial, Newtown families and children will be able to play small games with the soccer players, including players from the Quinnipiac University soccer program and Connecticut Football Club.
“I'm looking forward to getting together with players from around the league and supporting the community of Newtown,” Cooper said. “Hopefully we can help put some smiles on their faces and have some fun kicking the soccer ball around."
The participating Major League Soccer players are:
Zach Loyd, Bobby Warshaw
Corey Ashe, Brad Davis, Brian Ching, Ricardo Clark, Tally Hall
Landon Donovan, Sean Franklin, Rafael Garcia,
New England Revolution
Kevin Alston, Darrius Barnes, Hunter Freeman, Ryan Guy, Matt Reis, Clyde Simms, Chris Tierney, Bobby Shuttleworth
New York Red Bulls
Kenny Cooper, Heath Pearce, Ryan Meara
Chris Albright, Ray Gaddis
Real Salt Lake
San Jose Earthquakes
David Estrada, Josh Ford
Brad Knighton, Omar Salgado
US Men’s Legends
Cobi Jones, Alexi Lalas, Eric Wynalda, Mike Burns, Tony Meola
US Women’s Legends
Mia Hamm, Kristine Lilly, Christie Rampone