Lee Marshall: The coach behind the Philadelphia Union’s second successive River Cup victory on Sunday has praised those in attendance at PPL Park after the club smashed its target to beat last year’s fundraising total.
The inaugural River Cup game in summer 2011 raised more than $19,000 for the Philadelphia Union Foundation, which in-turn provides a wide range of opportunities for children across the local community.
But following Sunday’s showpiece event which saw the club’s front office, technical staff and VIP guests defeat the club’s official supporters group, Sons of Ben, 2-0 to retain the trophy, the Philadelphia Union Foundation now stands set to raise in excess of $30,000.
Cup-winning coach and Executive Director of the Philadelphia Union Foundation, Rick Jacobs, said: “When keeping it in perspective, bringing in 600 spectators to PPL Park in a bid to shed a light on the Foundation and raise awareness is very rewarding.
“But our aim is not only raise awareness levels, it’s also to raise funds and while the tally isn’t final yet, I’m delighted that we’re well over our target and set to be north of $30,000.
“I have to thank the Sons of Ben and loyal friends and family that came down to PPL Park on Sunday.
“I’m also immensely grateful to the people here who donated their time so generously to support the event – the front office staff, technical staff, the people of Global Spectrum and Ovations, the Wives and Friends group who held a very successful bake sale and raffle, and, of course, the players who made an effort to come down and show their support. Everyone combined to make it a great success.”
While raising both funds and awareness, the game also showcases the special relationship between the Union and its loyal legion of supporters, with both teams contributing to an entertaining game which eventually went the way of the Union Front Office.
CEO and Operating Partner Nick Sakiewicz was joined in that team by Philadelphia Phillies General Manager Reuben Amaro Jr, Union team manager John Hackworth and coaching staff including Rob Vartughian, Brendan Burke and former MLS All-Star Jim Curtin in the Union side, with a squad of almost 30 players matched by the Sons of Ben roster.
Front office member Nico Abelenda, who opened the scoring in last year’s 2-1 victory, did so again after stealing a yard inside the box to neatly prod home in the first half, before assistant coach Burke – who later left the field through injury – turned well to rifle home from a second half corner to seal victory.
Union goalkeeper Mike Quarino also played a notable role in the win, saving a second half penalty before pulling off a string of fine saves.
“The Sons of Ben were a talented and committed group so I’m proud of the effort and spirit that we showed,” added Jacobs, who has overseen the development of around 40 fledgling professionals across 30 years of coaching experience.
“The early roots of when this game was first created by founding members of the club and Sons of Ben shows just how different our relationship is compared to other teams in MLS. The River Cup underlines its power.
“We want to continue to build on what we’ve achieved and are looking forward to next year as the event continues to grow.”
To make a donation to the Philadelphia Union and make a difference to children across the community, please visit www.philadelphiaunion.com/foundation.
The second annual River Cup is coming to PPL Park on August 26! The Union Front Office hope to make it two wins in a row after a narrow 2-1 victory in last year's inagural event, while the Sons of Ben are out for revenge as they look to lift the River Cup trophy for the first time.
Tickets are on sale now for $10 and are available for purchase from the PPL Park box office during all Union home games, as well as regular business hours on non-gamedays.
All proceeds from the event will benefit the Philadelphia Union Foundation's charitable activities in the local community. Last year's River Cup raised over $25,000!
To view photos from the 2011 event, CLICK HERE.
WATCH: 2011 River Cup rewind
Last week, the Philadelphia Union Foundation, MLS W.O.R.K.S., Chester Upland School District, Chester City United, Sons of Ben and KaBOOM! teamed up with local volunteers to build a new playground and small-sided soccer field in Chester.
The playground, which was constructed in only a few hours, is located at Science and Discovery High School.
Over 200 volunteers were on hand to help make the project a success, including individuals from the community, Chester officials, Philadelphia Union front office staff and players, and MLS All-Stars.
The Philadelphia Union Foundation would like to thank all participants for bringing a new place to play to the local community!
For more on the build, CLICK HERE.
To view photos from the event, CLICK HERE.
WATCH: MLS W.O.R.K.S. Chronicles the Build
The Philadelphia Union Foundation was featured in the July edition of the MLS W.O.R.K.S. newsletter for community service efforts surrounding the 2012 AT&T MLS All-Star Game.
To view the July newsletter, CLICK HERE.
On Sunday, August 26th at PPL Park, watch the Philadelphia Union front office and the Sons of Ben battle it out at the 2nd annual River Cup! The match kicks off at 6 p.m.
All proceeds from the event will be donated to the Philadelphia Union Foundation.
Stay tuned for updates and ticket information as matchday approaches!
On Monday, Chester Mayor John A. Linder honored local students in grades 8-12 at the Mayor’s Annual Scholar Dinner.
The Philadelphia Union Foundation was a proud sponsor of the event, where the mayor recognized students for superb academic achievement, outstanding service to the Chester community, and acceptance into a college or university.
Over 30 local students were honored for their academic accomplishments and service to the community.
The Philadelphia Union Foundation, MLS W.O.R.K.S. and Chester Upland School District invite you to build a playground in Chester during MLS All-Star week!
The build will take place on Tuesday, July 24th from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Science and Discovery High School in Chester. Breakfast and lunch will be provided for all volunteers.
Those interested in volunteering should email Leah Moore at email@example.com as soon as possible, as space is limited.
This week, the Philadelphia Union Foundation presented a $15,000 donation to the Delaware County District Attorney's office to help fund "Operation Safe Patrol." The initiative will create a Pennsylvania State Police presence in the city of Chester between the months of July and September, when violent crimes are typically at their highest. Goals of the program include improving police response time, identifying illegal weapons channels, and better integrating law enforcement with the Chester community. Additional funding for the initiative was donated by Widener University and the Crozer-Chester Medical Center, among others.
The Philadelphia Union Foundation is proud to support this initiative as part of its ongoing effort to provide transformational change in the Chester community.
On Wednesday, nearly 50 children from the Chester community took a shot at designing their dream playgrounds. The event, hosted by the Philadelphia Union Foundation, KaBOOM!, Chester Upland School District, and Chester City United took place at Science & Discovery High School and lasted well into the evening.
Those joining the participants included Union GK Chase Harrison, Philadelphia Union front office staff, and local community volunteers. Representatives from MLS W.O.R.K.S. were also on hand.
Many of the design day visions will come to life on July 24, when the Philadelphia Union Foundation and its partners work with KaBOOM! to bring a new playground to Chester as part of activities surrounding the 2012 MLS All-Star Game at PPL Park.
On Sunday, June 10, the Philadelphia Union Foundation and the Union Juniors partnered with Chester City United to host the second annual “Pass Back Day” at YSC Sports in Wayne, PA.
Adult volunteers and youth players from the Union Juniors Academy team helped prepare and run the event, which brought over 70 kids from the Chester area for a day of soccer activities.
Participants rotated through various stations manned by Union Juniors, including a penalty shoot-out, an obstacle course, and a small-sided game. Philadelphia Union players and coaches were on hand to provide coaching instruction and encouragement. Among those in attendance were interim team manager John Hackworth, goalkeeper Chase Harrison, defenders Ray Gaddis and Sheanon Williams, and midfielder Krystian Witkowski.
Signed Union T-shirts, hats and jerseys were raffled off to participants at the end of the day. The event concluded with an autograph and picture session with Union players.
The Philadelphia Union Foundation thanks all of Sunday’s volunteers for making the second annual Passback Day a success!