Each match, D.C. United has important partners and fans perform the ceremonial first kick. On Armed Forces Night the first kick was taken by Jason Pak, a D.C. United fan and longtime soccer player who was injured while serving in Afghanistan. In April, Chris Pontius and James Riley visited Pak at Walter Reed Medical Center where the three formed an instant connection. D.C. United was very excited to have Pak at Armed Forces Night and thanks him and all of the former and current members of the armed forces.
Ahead of D.C. United’s Armed Forces Match against Sporting Kansas City this Sunday, D.C. United players paid a special visit to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on MAy 15th. United’s Chris Pontius, Perry Kitchen, Bill Hamid, James Riley, Dwayne De Rosario, Nick DeLeon, and Dejan Jakovic spent time in the Military Advanced Training Center, where amputees injured during service are given special care with the goal of assuming pre-injury capabilities.
United will be dedicating Sunday’s match to all the armed forces who sacrifice everything to keep the United States safe. For this special event, Jason Pak, a patient Pontius and Riley had visited back in April, will conduct the ceremonial first kick.
D.C. United hopes to return to Walter Reed National Military Medical center, as each player who participated leaves with new admiration for our armed forces. Join the Black-and-Red in thanking our armed forces this Sunday at 5 p.m. at RFK.
Ahead of Armed Forces Night, D.C. United players send messages of thanks to the military for their service to our country.
Armed Forces Night tickets still available, call 202-587-5000 to find out how you can donate tickets to troops!
D.C. United would like to thank all current and former members of the military who serve and protect our country everyday. We'd also like to thank Volkswagen, GEICO, Giant, Long Fence and Home, Allstate, American Airlines and Hilton-Homewood Suites for their part in helping make Armed Forces Night a success.
Daniel Woolard and John Thorrington:
So amazed by all the support!! Hope everyone comes to the match Sunday for my last official game as a professional footballer!!#retirement
— Robert I. O. Russell (@RobbieRussell03) May 15, 2013
— District Ultras (@DistrictUltrasX) May 15, 2013
— Sam Stejskal (@samstejskal) May 15, 2013
— Andy Williams (@bommadog) May 15, 2013
— Chris Seitz (@Seitzy1) May 15, 2013
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) May 15, 2013
— Steven Goff (@SoccerInsider) May 15, 2013
— Arlo White (@arlowhite) May 15, 2013
— Duke DC (@DukeDCTweets) May 15, 2013
D.C. United midfielder Chris Pontius on Robbie Russell:
“I just want to congratulate him on a fantastic career, not only is he a great player, but he’s a great person, and that means just as much to me. He has had a fantastic career and a fantastic run, and he will be successful in whatever he does after soccer.”
D.C. United defender Dejan Jakovic:
“I want to wish Robbie Russell all the best in the future. He’s definitely a really positive mentor since he has come to D.C. A guy with a ton of experience, whose been a voice and a leader on this team, and we’re going to miss him.”
D.C. United Head Coach Ben Olsen:
“Robbie has had a wonderful career, and we as an organization were lucky to play a small part in it,” said D.C. United Head Coach Ben Olsen. “He has helped mold our young players and has left, in a short time, a big imprint on this club.”
Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando:
"Saddened to see Robbie Russell's career come to an end but it was a pleasure to share the field with such a true pro. One of the smartest, most unselfish, and worst-dressed players I ever played with and although his last PK in 2009 was memorable, it's his Brandi Chastain celebrations that I'll miss. Good luck in your next adventure bud."
Real Salt Lake midfielder Kyle Beckerman:
"Not only was Robbie a great player but he was an even better person. He was the utmost professional and it was a pleasure to play with him. He'll always have a place in the hearts of the RSL family for the hard work he put in and of course for his penalty he took to win the MLS Cup 2009."
Real Salt Late defender Chris Wingert:
"Robbie Russell is definitely one of the best teammates you could ask for as an athlete. Great player, great locker room guy, and somebody that will have just as much success outside of soccer as he has in it. Congrats on a great career Robbie!"
Real Salt Lake defender Nat Borchers:
"Robbie was a major part of our success from '09-'11. He brought a lot of high-level experience to this team and he knew how to win. He fit in everywhere…I think the only position he never played was striker! I'll never forget the PK he took in '09 to win us the MLS Cup. He was so calm when everything was on the line for us. He was a winner at soccer and I have no doubt he will be a winner in the next phase of his life."
Real Salt Lake Head Coach Jason Kreis:
"Robbie Russell played an integral and critical part in the changing of the culture at Real Salt Lake. He will be forever remembered for his 2009 MLS Cup-Winning Penalty Kick, but his true contributions were much more thorough, impressive, and long-lasting than that one kick. His legacy at RSL can and will never be forgotten.
I, for one, owe him a personal debt of gratitude for what he gave to me and this club."
This Sunday, celebrate your mom with D.C. United and Major League Soccer. Show your appreciation for your mother this Mother's Day and you could win the MLS jersey of your choice.
All you've got to do is:
- Snap a picture of you and your mom in MLS gear using the hashtag #MLSmom.
- Tweet us an image or post one on Instagram to give your mom a shout out.
- The randomly selected MLS duo will each receive a non-customizable 2013 MLS jersey of their choice.
Then, look for your photo to show up on the Fan Photo Wall
Next Sunday, join Olsen's Army in supporting America's troops at Armed Forces Night at RFK - Tickets available online
Congratulations to veteran midfielder, John Thorrington and his wife who welcomed a healthy baby boy to their family. Jensen Gerard Thorrington was born on Tuesday, May 7 weighing in at 8lbs 11oz. Thorrington, who is currently sidelined with a ligament strain, said Jensen will be making his soccer debut in 2030.
Welcome to the D.C. United family, Jensen. Congratulations and well wishes to the Thorringtons!
With an hour until kickoff and dark clouds looming over RFK Stadium, D.C. United is preparing for the game as usual. Soccer, after all, is one of the few outdoor sports that is rarely effected by weather delays. Major League Soccer rules state that the referee is responsible for making all weather-related calls based on his assessment of the playability of the field and safety of the teams.
A quick history lesson
Inclement weather, a Wednesday night, Houston? Sound familiar? Back on June 4, 2008 D.C. United hosted the Houston Dynamo on a rainy Wednesday evening at RFK, severe weather left the field unplayable and the match was rescheduled for Tuesday, July 22. In an interesting turn of events the match on July 22 was also postponed, this time due to widespread power outages in DC. On July 23 the match was finally played, however not before a three hour delay.
D.C. United vs Houston Dynamo has seen its share of midweek weather drama, but we're all ready for tonight. Game on.