HARRISON, NJ (April 6, 2023) – New York Red Bulls announced today the ninth annual Autism Acceptance Match presented by Hackensack Meridian Health when the Red Bulls host the Houston Dynamo at Red Bull Arena on Saturday, April 15 at 7:30 p.m. For every ticket purchased here the club will donate $3.00 to Autism CAN.
Autism CAN (CARE, ACCESS, and NAVIGATE) is a philanthropic initiative supporting Hackensack Meridian Children’s Health’s mission to provide families with autistic children access to the highest quality care, trusted resources and specialized environments sensitive to the unique needs of children on the autism spectrum and their families.
“We are so pleased to partner with the Red Bulls for Autism Awareness Night at Red Bulls Arena once again,” said Trisha A. Farmer, MSN, RN, CNS, CPHRM, vice president, Children's Care Transformation Services at Hackensack Meridian Children's Health. “Over the years, Hackensack Meridian Health and Hackensack Meridian Health Foundation have made wonderful strides in raising much-needed funds for Autism CAN that will enable us to ensure families with autistic children in New Jersey, and in the surrounding metropolitan area, have access to care environments sensitive to the autistic community’s unique needs and guidance on how to find the information they need to best support their child. Dedicated events, like this one, make families and their children feel special, and we are truly grateful to the Red Bulls for their ongoing support.”
“The New York Red Bulls organization and our valued partner Hackensack Meridian Health are proud to host an evening recognizing the many families affected by autism as it now impacts 1 in 36 children across our country, ” said Marc de Grandpré, General Manager, New York Red Bulls. “We all must come together to ensure we can provide the families with loved ones on the autism spectrum an opportunity to enjoy sporting events in safe, comfortable environments. Our staff is committed to providing a sensory-friendly experience for families coming to Red Bull Arena for this special evening. We are extremely thankful for the continued support we get from our fans, partners and community members each and every year in raising acceptance and understanding for those on the spectrum.”
In 2017, Red Bull Arena became the first MLS venue to have a permanent sensory room. The room is available for all families impacted by autism for no additional charge during all home matches.
Initiatives the club will activate:
- Hackensack Meridian Health branded sensory sacks will be available at guest services and include: noise cancelling headphones, poppers, stress balls, and wristbands with their specific seating information.
- Music will not be played at the BULLevard from 4:30pm – 5:30pm; music will be lowered from 5:30pm to the start of the match at 7:30pm.
- Music volume and PA announcer will be lowered throughout the match.
- Recording artist and Autism acceptance advocate Cory Singer will perform the National Anthem
- The Guest DJ at Red Bull Arena will be Blake Rouen, aka “DJ Blake”, a sophomore at Moorestown High School who is on the spectrum.
- A Quiet Zone will be located at a Hospitality Bay on the Plaza Level of Red Bull Arena.
On March 20, several members of the club including team Captain Sean Nealis, Tom Barlow and Connor Lade visited Spectrum Designs Foundation in Port Washington, NY to learn about the neurodiverse training and employment opportunities they offer.
The de Grandpré Family Grant for Autism Programs, inspired by Julia de Grandpré, was formed by the club and awards $5,000 to organizations whose work impacts families of loved ones on the autism spectrum.
About New York Red Bulls
The New York Red Bulls are one of 29 teams in Major League Soccer (MLS). RBNY, one of the ten charter clubs of MLS, have competed in the league since its founding in 1996. The Red Bulls play home matches at Red Bull Arena (RBA) in Harrison, New Jersey. The three-time MLS Supporters' Shield Winners are owned by the Austrian beverage company Red Bull for which the team is named. The New York Red Bulls offer one of the nation's premier youth soccer development programs, from local soccer partnerships across New York and New Jersey to Regional Development Schools and the Red Bulls Academy teams.
About Hackensack Meridian Health
Hackensack Meridian Health is a leading not-for-profit health care organization that is the largest, most comprehensive and truly integrated health care network in New Jersey, offering a complete range of medical services, innovative research and life-enhancing care. The network has 18 hospitals and more than 500 patient care locations, which include ambulatory care centers, surgery centers, home health services, long-term care and assisted living communities, ambulance services, lifesaving air medical transportation, rehabilitation centers, urgent care centers, physician practice locations, and a fitness and wellness center. With more than 35,000 team members and 7,000 physicians, Hackensack Meridian Health is a distinguished leader in health care philanthropy and committed to the health and well-being of communities throughout New Jersey.
The network’s notable distinctions include having more U.S. News-ranked hospitals than any other health system in New Jersey, as ranked by U.S. News & World Report, 2022-23. Hackensack University Medical Center is nationally-ranked by U.S. News & World Report in four specialties, more than any other hospital in New Jersey. Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital at Hackensack University Medical Center, and K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital at Jersey Shore University Medical Center, are ranked #1 in the state and top 20 in the Mid-Atlantic Region by U.S. News & World Report’s 2022-23 Best Children’s Hospital Report. Additionally, their combined nephrology program ranks in the top 50 in the United States. To learn more, visit www.hackensackmeridianhealth.org.