Special Olympics Washington will be the featured charity at tonight's match against the Portland Timbers reserves at Starfire.
Each year the Sounders FC raises thousands of dollars for local charitable organizations. Using the MLS Reserve League schedule as a platform, they are able to raise even more through the charitable contributions of their supporters.
Admission to all Sounders FC home reserve league matches is free. However, representatives from one of the club’s five charity partners will be at each match to collect cash donations that will be pooled together and distributed among the five partners at the end of the season.
“The Sounders are in a unique place to be able to contribute to the community with reserve matches. It’s an opportunity that other clubs just don’t have,” said Sounders FC manager of business operations Taylor Graham. “We have fans that want to come and watch. We have facilities to be able to facilitate people coming to watch reserve games. The whole organization puts together these matches in a way to contribute to our charity partners.”
Tuesday night, the partner that will be represented is Special Olympics Washington, which provides year-round sports training and athletic competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities with the goal that participation will lead to more productive and independent lives.
In 2011 alone, more than 8,000 children and adults with intellectual disabilities participated in Special Olympics Washington programs and the funds raised throughout the year help make those events free for the athletes to participate.
The supporters relish the opportunity to help contribute to the cause.
“The ECS is honored to be contributing volunteers to help the Special Olympics collect donations before the Sounders FC Reserve match and during halftime,” said ECS charity/outreach coordinator Angeline Bounds. “The Special Olympics have many amazing soccer programs that encourage the teamwork and growth of many athletes with and without intellectual disabilities.”
Graham, who played for the Sounders in the USL for three seasons and with the Sounders FC for three years before retiring in 2011, said the players feel that same pride when they can be a part of helping charitable organizations through soccer.
“The players love playing in front of our fans and it allows them to give back,” he said. “To play at night at Starfire is a win-win for everyone. It’s a true game environment and they’re doing something positive.”
The other four partners that will contribute to the reserve games and benefit from the funds raised are America SCORES Seattle, Boys & Girls Clubs of King County and Bellevue, Washington Global Health Science and Washington Youth Soccer.