“We won two games out of 20 and we celebrated like we won the World Cup,” Riley recalls now with a smile. “I cherish those memories. The guys that I played with worked so hard. It was tremendous.”
Because of his upbringing, he’s made a point to involve himself as much as possible in the community and be a valuable part to the lives of those that need a positive role model.
That’s one reason he is so proud to put on the James Riley 7-A-Side Youth Soccer Tournament for the second straight year. Last year, he and his marketing manager Richard Martin raised over $7,000 for the Renton/Skyway Boys & Girls Club through the tournament and this year, they’re at it again.
While the culminating event, when he presented gifts to the Renton/Skyway Boys & Girls Club from the funds raised through the tournament and other donations, was among the more heartwarming moments in Riley’s three years in Seattle, he also saw a lot of his youth in the tournament that raised money to make that moment possible.
“There’s people that have never played soccer before and it’s a great dynamic to see them having fun,” he said. “The Boys & Girls Club thought they were going to get shut out. I think they lost their first game 5-3, which was great. To see the Boys & Girls Club score goals celebrate goals is great to see. The families get involved and it’s for a good cause. For me to invite my teammates down there and sign autographs and see the joy on the kids’ faces is tremendous.”
He and his marketing manager Richard Martin are at it again with the second edition of the tournament.
“It was a wonderful experience,” Riley said. “Boys & Girls Club at Renton/Skyway has been dear to my heart from when I first got to the city. From the moment I walked in they welcomed me with open arms.”
In addition to his work with the Boys & Girls Club, Riley is also active with Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Gilda’s Club, Ronald McDonald House, Children’s Hospital, America SCORES and Washington Special Olympics, among other organizations.
Boys and girls teams in the U9, U10, U11 and U12 age groups can sign up by visiting www.arenasports.net.
To see highlights from last year's tournament, click here.