The tragic school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, affected the entire nation.
It had a particularly strong affect on Houston Dynamo president Chris Canetti. Within days of the shooting, Canetti, a native of Guilford, Conn., knew he wanted to do something for the Newtown community.
On the Monday after the shooting, Canetti got in touch with one of the only people he still knew connected to the Connecticut soccer scene: Eric Da Costa, head coach of the Quinnipiac University soccer men's soccer team. (Canetti is an alumnus of Quinnipiac.) Da Costa got the ball rolling, reaching out to youth soccer people in the area, including the Connecticut Football Club youth program, and suddenly things were in motion.
What emerged — and has quickly picked up momentum — is “Soccer Night in Newtown,” a special event taking place on January 7 and open only to Newtown residents and members of the Newtown Youth Soccer Club. Local families and children will be able to meet MLS and US national team stars, play in small-sided games, and spend an afternoon thinking about the beautiful game rather than the ugliness of recent events.
Through MLS W.O.R.K.S., 30 MLS players confirmed their involvement, including Houston’s Brad Davis and Brian Ching, the LA Galaxy’s Landon Donovan, the New England Revolution’s Matt Reis, and the San Jose Earthquakes’ Marcus Tracy, who grew up in Newtown and whose mother once taught at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
US national team stars, including Cobi Jones, Alexi Lalas, Mia Hamm, and Connecticut native Kristine Lilly, also quickly pledged to take part.
They will all take part in what is shaping up to be a very special day for the Newtown community.
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, 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, Matt Watson
US Men’s Legends
Cobi Jones, Alexi Lalas, Eric Wynalda, Mike Burns, Tony Meola
US Women’s Legends
Mia Hamm, Kristine Lilly, Christie Rampone