Playing in a game that requires a combination of chemistry and trust, the Philadelphia Union put an emphasis on team bonding. There are many avenues a team can take to create continuity, but for the Union one cause has been truly special, the Garth Brooks’ Teammates for Kids Foundation.
Teammates for Kids, a children’s charity that allows professional athletes to donate money based on performance levels in their sport, guarantees that all proceeds will go to the children, which is something the Union fully support.
“I think everybody understands that it is a good cause; it is something they want to be a part of and want to see kids have opportunities that maybe they otherwise wouldn’t have had,” Union captain Brian Carroll said of his team. “Teammates for Kids foundation provides a great avenue in order for us to give back and help other people out.”
One special perks of the Teammates for Kids Foundation is that they will triple any donation made. This year the players, along with the coaches were able to raise $28,000 to support the foundation, which ranked top three in MLS in terms of participation.
“We know that any money we give no matter how big or small is going to be tripled and all of that is going to go to the kids and their benefit,” Carroll said. “So I think it hits home with everybody and they really feel a desire to help the cause out.”
As captain of the team, Carroll believes he should set an example with his actions and make sure to pass valuable opportunities on to his teammates. The mission of the Garth Brooks Foundation is something Carroll has always supported. While he doesn’t want to force his teammates to join him, he knows it is an opportunity that could bring them great fulfillment.
“It is something that I always have felt a duty to give money to, to help out that situation and just pass throughout the other guys in the locker room that I enjoy it, it is not something they have to do, but something I enjoy,” Carroll said. “I know that they will probably find some enjoyment out of it too and I don’t force it upon anybody, but I think everybody feels a willingness to help out that cause. I am appreciative and I know that our club is appreciative of that.”
Along with Carroll, Union defender Chris Albright is also an avid supporter of the cause. Albright was the first player to donate to the foundation and helped set the tone for the rest of the team to join him.
“It is something that is close to my heart and I try to spread the word,” Albright said. “There are numerous ways they really affect children for the better and I think that anything that can help young kids is something I can get behind.”
The Union’s efforts have not gone unnoticed by the Garth Brooks Foundation. Following receiving the donation, country singer Garth Brooks praised the Union for their generosity and drive for the cause.
"Every player, including the head coach?! Now that is a team of Teammates,” Brooks said. “The Union has been a dream to work with and they are helping a ton of kids in Philadelphia and beyond. Thank you, thank you, thank you."
As an organization, the Philadelphia Union has made it a goal to give back to the community. The Teammates for Kids Foundation has provided another avenue for both the team and the organization as a whole to help create a more positive atmosphere and future for underprivileged children.
Contact Union writer Howard Hutchinson at firstname.lastname@example.org