With the dust settling at PPL Park following an incredible 2012 AT&T MLS All-Star week, the Philadelphia Union are ensuring the local community continues to feel the lasting benefits of the event after a hat-trick of special announcements.
Designed to leave an enduring legacy for the people of Chester, PA, the announcements were the culmination of a hugely successful partnership network which includes Major League Soccer, the Philadelphia Union, sponsors, local organizations and officials.
Kicking off the activities on Tuesday, the Union partnered with MLS Works, All-Star title sponsor AT&T, Chester Upland School District and KABOOM! to build a specially commissioned playground on the grounds of Science and Discovery High School in Chester. The playground came from designs of Chester Upland School District Children.
MLS players including Union captain Carlos Valdés, teammates Chase Harrison and Krystian Witkowski, Vancouver Whitecaps defender Jay DeMerit, Real Salt Lake star Kyle Beckerman and eventual All-Star game winner Eddie Johnson were all on hand to complete building work on Tuesday, joining MLS commissioner Don Garber, Philadelphia Union CEO and operating partner Nick Sakiewicz, Mayor Linder and volunteers from the community, as well as Union’s ardent fans – Sons of Ben.
Local children also participated in an AT&T Youth Clinic practice session by Philadelphia Union Academy coaches as TV broadcaster and former MLS All-Star Alexi Lalas joined in.
On Wednesday, MLS W.O.R.K.S. and the Union joined with Starlight Children’s Foundation to improve day-to-day life for children undergoing treatment at the Crozer-Chester Medical Center, with the presentation of a state-of-the-art multimedia Fun Center as part of the MLS-led Soccer Kicks Cancer program. Featuring a Sharp® AQUOS™ LCD TV, DVD player and Nintendo Wii™ games console, the Fun Center has become a popular addition at more than 1,300 hospitals nationally.
Union players Michael Lahoud and Amobi Okugo unveiled the new Fun Center, while also meeting with patients, doctors, nurses and staff at the hospital.
Jacqueline Hart-Ibrahim, Global CEO of Starlight Children’s Foundation, said: “Fun Centers address the isolation and fear sick children often experience in the hospital. We know a Fun Center is a most welcome guest when parents and other visitors aren’t able to be at a child’s bedside.
“We are thrilled to partner with MLS W.O.R.K.S. and the Philadelphia Union because they’re committed to easing loneliness and anxiety while helping kids just be kids even when they’re in the hospital.”
Capping off All-Star week’s community outreach was a special announcement at halftime of the MLS All-Star’s 3-2 victory over Chelsea on Wednesday evening that Philadelphia Union’s Community MVP nominee, Andrew Pollickton, had beaten off competition from across the 19 MLS teams to secure the most fan votes.
His charity, Animal Rescue, will now receive a donation of $10,000 while Andrew will be officially recognized for his magnificent achievement at an upcoming Philadelphia Union match.
To find out more about how Philadelphia Union is working with the community, please visit www.philadelphiaunion.com/foundation.