Major League Soccer and each of its 19 clubs announced Monday that they will gather on site in Newtown, CT, on Jan. 7 for “Soccer Night in Newtown,” a special event for the town's residents geared toward generating attention, funds, and support for the victims and families affected by the tragic Dec. 14 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Red Bulls players Kenny Cooper, Ryan Meara, and Heath Pearce will be on hand for the memorial initiative alongside members of every MLS club, the Quinnipiac University soccer program, and Connecticut Football Club, to lend their support in any way possible to the Newtown community.
The plaque at Corwin Park in Winnetka, IL,
a respectful reminder of the youth lost
“I'm looking forward to getting together with players from around the league and supporting the community of Newtown,” said Cooper. “Hopefully we can help put some smiles on their faces and have some fun kicking the soccer ball around."
It’s hard to imagine what the families of the victims and the community must be going through at this time,” said Pearce. “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 tragedy in Newtown has undoubtedly affected the nation as a whole, including MLS, its clubs, players, and front office members. Red Bulls General Manager Jerome de Bontin is one who can relate first hand to the tragedy, trailing back to his days spent living in and visiting the Chicago area.
For the past 27 years, de Bontin has played soccer with a close group of friends on a field in a northern suburb of Chicago. Nick Corwin Park, named after a first-grader who was shot in a 1988 school shooting in Winnetka, IL, stands as a constant reminder to de Bontin and his friends each and every time they step foot onto the pitch. The park is now home to the local youth soccer programs, a respectful reminder of the youth lost in both Winnetka and Newtown.
“Although the shooting in Winnetka took place over 20 years ago, you never forget the impact an incident like that can have on a community,” de Bontin said. “The Red Bulls have already responded to a number of requests from various groups in Newtown, and we will continue to do so for as long as they need our support.”
For those not living in the area, perhaps somewhere around world or across the country, we ask that you not forget the victims of this horrific tragedy.
For those directly impacted; our extended family living in and around Newtown, Connecticut, and other parts of the tri-state area, we will always be here for you.