Houston Dynamo President Chris Canetti was hit hard by the Newtown tragedy. Canetti, a graduate of Quinnipiac University and a resident of Conn for the first 30 years of his life, wanted to do something to help out the community of Newtown. His solution: A soccer night in Newtown, which is now being called “Soccer Night in Newtown”.
Canetti got in contact with Quinnipiac Men’s Soccer coach Eric Da Costa about having an event. Da Costa got in contact with the local soccer clubs in town, while Canetti started planning what started out as a clinic with Houston Dynamo players.
“The idea started as a clinic, but we would have had to limit the number of kids with a clinic. We ditched the clinic idea and decided on a more interactive night,” said Canetti during a phone interview.
News of the event spread like wild fire to soccer personalities. Soccer great and Canetti’s friend Alexi Lalas wanted to get involved. Eventually news got to some United States National Team players who wanted to be help out as well. Major League Soccer followed suit and contacted Canetti about how each MLS team could get involved.
In partnership with MLS and MLS W.O.R.K.S, each team will be sending at least one team member to Newtown for the event. For the Philadelphia Union, players Chris Albright and Ray Gaddis will be attending.
The event will only be open to Newtown residents and the Newtown Youth Soccer Club.
Canetti explained, “This isn’t about signing autographs for fans from Trenton, but rather to put smiles on the faces of kids [and residents] from Newtown who has dealt with a lot lately.”
While there will be opportunities for autographs and photos as Canetti mentioned, this event is about the residents of Newtown and allowing them to take their minds off of a horrific tragedy and have some fun for a chance.
On Dec 31 the MLS released the players from each club who would be in attendance. Also below are US Soccer legends that have confirmed attendance in Newtown. One again, the event will take place on Jan. 7.
Zach Loyd, Bobby Warshaw
Corey Ashe, Brad Davis, Brian Ching, Ricardo Clark, Tally Hall
Landon Donovan, Sean Franklin, Rafael Garcia,
New England Revolution
Kevin Alston, Darrius Barnes, Ryan Guy, Matt Reis, Clyde Simms, Chris Tierney, Bobby Shuttleworth
New York Red Bulls
Kenny Cooper, Heath Pearce, Ryan Meara
Chris Albright, Ray Gaddis
Real Salt Lake
San Jose Earthquakes
David Estrada, Josh Ford
Brad Knighton , Omar Salgado, Matt Watson
US Men’s Legends
Cobi Jones, Alexi Lalas, Eric Wynalda, Mike Burns, Tony Meola
US Women’s Legends
Mia Hamm, Kristine Lilly, Christie Rampone