In the Community
It's unbelievably easy to take what we have for granted. For instance: when I'm hungry, I eat. It is that simple. But, for so many others, that is not an option; it's not that simple. We can help, and today, during our First Day of Giving, we did.
Kicking off D.C. United's 10 Days of Giving, a few volunteers from our staff joined Thrive DC at St. Stephen's Church in Northwest to provide meals for homeless and disadvantaged men and women. Additionally, we donated the toiletries from our October United Drives collection and the extra D.C. United Season Ticket Holder blankets.
It was 8 a.m. on a Friday morning. I had pressed snooze twice this morning. Yet, I couldn't have felt more ready for the day. The vibes upon entering the church were contagiously positive and energizing.
After tying my apron and putting on my gloves, I was immediately put to work. Together, we made chicken noodle soup, cabbage stir-fry, salad, toast with butter and began preparing Monday's breakfast. As soon as all the food was set out in the dinning room, including the breakfast burritos donated by DC Central Kitchen, we began serving meals to those in need.
For three hours, we played a small role in feeding the hungry. The gratefulness on the men and women's faces as they worked their way down the line is what it is all about: people helping people. Washingtonians helpings Washingtonians. D.C. United being out in the community, helping to make it just slightly better than it was yesterday.
Yesterday, D.C. United staff, along with goalkeeper Joe Willis and defender James Riley volunteered at D.C. Central Kitchen (DDCK). Together with the kitchen staff, we made meals for thousands of people in need. DCCK Volunteer Coordinator, Casey Thomasson prepped the group and explained what DCCK does for the community.
“We bring in 3,000 pounds of food every single day from different restaurants and hotels and organizations. We transform it into 5,000 meals all at once. Now, we don’t send these out individually… We want to try to create a more sustainable system of support for people in the community. That’s why we send these meals out to halfway houses, rehabilitation centers and after school programs. So, these programs can save money, while providing healthy meals to their clients.”
The passion for the program clear in his voice, Thomasson continued to explain that most of the cooks have come through DCCK’s internship program—a 14 week program for the previously disenfranchised to learn a valuable skill and get back on their feet. 100% of the last graduating class is now employed; the norm is around 90% which, if you’ll allow me to editorialize here, is unbelievably impressive.
While some volunteers cracked eggs to be used in lasagna, others prepared about 96 tins of turkey lasagna. Some DCU volunteers chopped jalapeños, while others prepared bacon and sandwiches for today’s breakfast.
On behalf of everyone at D.C. United, we want to thank DCCK for letting us spend the afternoon preparing meals for thousands and thank them for everything they do for the community.
On Thursday, July 11, members of D.C. United's first team and front office staff visited the Children's National Medical Center in Washington, DC. The United Builds event, which D.C. United has participated in for a number of years, was met with bright and cheery smiles from the patients at the hospital.
United veterans Dwayne De Rosario, Brandon McDonald, Chris Korb, and Andrew Dykstra entertained patients and families at the hospital. The group took part in games, arts & crafts, and various activities to provide a fun environment for patients & parents at the hospital.
Click here to find out more about D.C. United's community efforts.
Each season, MLS WORKS names Community MVPs from around the league who use soccer to help enhance their community. D.C. United's local MVP is Guy Perez of Richmond, Virginia.
Fans have the opportunity to vote to choose the Grand Prize winner. All votes must be submitted by July 12 at 5:00 p.m. ET and the winner is eligible for the below prize package:
One (1) Grand Prize winner will receive a $10,000 donation to their charity of choice and a trip to the 2013 AT&T MLS All-Star Game. Trip for winner and one (1) guest to include:
- Accommodations for two (2) nights Roundtrip coach airfare
- Two (2) tickets to the 2013 AT&T MLS All-Star Game at Sporting Park on July 31
- Recognition during 2013 AT&T MLS All-Star Game
- One (1) 2013 AT&T MLS All-Star Gift Bag
The Nominator of the Grand Prize winner and one (1) guest will also receieve a trip to the 2013 AT&T MLS All-Star Game. Trip for the nominator and one (1) guest to include the same elements outlined above for Grand Prize winner*.
*Nominator prize package does not include $10,000 donation.
Guy Perez loves soccer. For most fans of the game, this would be enough. But, Guy has spent the last 20+ seasons coaching recreational players year round to love the game as well. Guy's coaching style is positive and he teaches his athletes to play the game, but, more importantly, to love the game. He embodies the true spirit of recreational soccer by adhering to equal playing time for all players as well as modeling and teaching positive sportsmanship and most importantly, having fun on the soccer field. One parent states that because of Coach Perez, "my daughter's love of soccer has been restored and she has never played with so much passion and effort”!
Guy is currently battling cancer and few know how gravely ill he truly is. He NEVER lets that stop him from being there for his players. He underwent major surgery recently and immediately upon his discharge headed out to the soccer field to coach his team. He has made a difference. He has truly inspired the close circle of people that know the seriousness of his illness and of his prognosis with his humble grace and unstoppable passion for soccer. The way he instills this in his players is by pure love and example. Guy's charity of choice is the Richmond Kickers which provides the opportunity for children with disabilities to play soccer.
On Saturday night, the Nicole Megaloudis Foundation held their annual scholarship presentation prior to the D.C. United vs. Toronto FC match. Congratulations to Manuel Hernandez and Luisa Martinez, this year's scholarship winners.
The Nicole Megaloudis Foundation strives to "Make it Happen" for students who display leadership qualities and are in need of financial support. The Foundation is named for, and was founded in honor of, Nicole Megaloudis, the stepdaughter of former D.C. United head coach Thomas Rongen who was killed in an auto accident in 2004. Click here to learn more about the Foundation.
United Soccer Club’s “Spring Kick” Soccer Tournament took place on Wednesday, June 5 and marked the end of United Soccer Club’s (USC) spring season. With over 400 players from 12 sites across the Washington D.C. metropolitan area, “Spring Kick” gave kids an opportunity to showcase their skills in front of their friends and families, as many of the player’s parents were in attendance. USC provided the athletes with healthy food and drink options, stressing a healthy lifestyle.
USC continues to teach D.C.’s youth life skills that benefit them both on and off the field. This spring alone, USC enrolled close to 700 children in the program, increasing the reach and impact United for D.C.—D.C. United’s charitable arm— has on the city as a whole.
United for D.C. would like to thank all of its volunteers from Gallup, Clinovations, the U.S. Coast Guard, D.C. United staff, United for D.C. board members and all of its local supporters.
In honor of Earth Day, D.C. United players Chris Pontius, Brandon McDonald, Bill Hamid, Ethan White, and Joe Willis, along with over 30 volunteers participated in a large-scale clean-up of the National Mall. D.C. United partnered with Trust for the National Mall to help maintain, restore, and beautify America’s front yard.
Head Coach Ben Olsen and ten players visited the Nation's Medical Center
On Monday, October 15, Head Coach Ben Olsen, Mike Chabala, Maicon Santos, Bill Hamid, Daniel Woolard, Stephen King, Josh Wolff, Brandon McDonald, Chris Pontius, Robbie Russell and Joe Willis visited Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, MD. The group toured the facility and met with wounded warriors.
The players shared their experience via Twitter:
What an inspiration! @ the Walter Reed Medical Center visiting wounded soldiers! This guy was amazing! No arms or legs twitter.com/BMcDonald4/sta…
— Brandon McDonald (@BMcDonald4) October 15, 2012
— Brandon McDonald (@BMcDonald4) October 15, 2012
Just got back from Walter Reed Medical Center. So grateful for the opportunity to meet some of the TRUE Heroes. Inspiring people
— Chris Pontius (@ChrisPontius13) October 15, 2012
Us posing with our guides after a humbling experience of meeting wounded soldiers at Walter Reed Hospital. W instagr.am/p/Q0mSLBom5j/
— Bill Hamid (@BillHamid28) October 15, 2012
With my teammates meeting with Wounded Warriors. Support our troops!Freedom is not free
— Perry Kitchen (@PerryKitchen23) October 15, 2012
D.C. United's mission of "winning championships and serving the community" isn't only for the first team. On Sunday, October 14, D.C. United Academy players, coaches, and parents participated in the Acumen Solution's 8K Race for a Cause in Arlington, VA. The race helped raise money for United for D.C. - the club's charitable arm.
Forty-five players from United's U-14, U-15, and U-16 teams ran with 15 coaches and parent plus the events hundreds of other participants. D.C. United front office staff also participated.
Most of the Academy players were sleepy and chilly at the start of the race (see above), but they warmed up during the run and enjoyed representing the Black-and-Red and a community event.
New Director of Youth Development, Sonny Silooy, finished first among the Academy coaches. And, as the photo on the right suggests, he was pretty happy about it.