Miller with Lahoud
Greg Carroccio

Union midfielder Michael Lahoud doing all he can to help #KickEbolaintheButt

 

Being a professional athlete has so many rewards.

When your club reached the U.S. Open Cup title match and you’re battling for an MLS Cup playoff berth in front of incredibly passionate fans, life is good.

Philadelphia Union midfielder Michael Lahoud would agree with all of this. He did agree.

The Union are preparing to face D.C. United Saturday afternoon. Three huge points are at stake.

While Lahoud is putting every ounce of energy into this match, his mind will surely wander when it’s complete.

Lahoud’s home country of Sierra Leone has been severely hampered by the Ebola virus. People are dying because of this virus – thousands of people.

“Ebola is very real, even if it is miles away from us, it’s very real and it’s on the doorstep of something huge,” Lahoud said. “This event (at Temple) is an interactive way for people to join the fight against Ebola and not just the fight against Ebola, but Ebola prevention.”

Has it been difficult to stay mentally sharp?

“This month has been very difficult for me personally in terms of staying focused,” Lahoud admitted. “This is the untold story of becoming a professional. It’s part of the untold burden that you never get told about when you fulfill a dream of playing internationally or you fulfill a dream of playing in something like the Africa Cup of Nations.”

Lahoud and the Temple University School of Tourism and Hospitality Management have teamed up and will host the Kick Ebola In The Butt event Sunday from 2-4 p.m. at Temple’s Geasey Field.

The event will involve an inflated ball being kicked at a participant’s backside and a charitable donation.

A meet-and-greet will also take place with Lahoud, Union defender Amobi Okugo and goalkeeper Andre Blake.

Autographed merchandise will be up for grabs.

Admission to the event is free and donations are strongly encouraged. All proceeds from the event will go toward charities that support the fight against Ebola.

This fight could get much tougher. That’s not acceptable to Lahoud. So he’s doing everything he can to assist this cause.

“Our people back in Sierra Leone, they’re craving anything to give them hope,” Lahoud said. “We just came off of a 12-plus year civil war that destroyed our country, and now this. With this campaign and this event Sunday, I just hope it’s the start of a shift in the tide and the fortunes of not just Sierra Leone but West Africa and the African people as a whole.”

Contact Union writer Andy Jasner at andy.jasner@yahoo.com

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