A fundraiser featuring the Professional United Soccer League Team New York Red Bulls II is being held on Thursday to benefit Newtown Youth & Family Services. The team will play an exhibition game against the Newtown Pride FC of the Connecticut Soccer League.
Event coordinator Kyle Lyddy says the proceeds from the game and a silent auction will go toward the peer-to-peer mentoring program run by NYFS. Lyddy says they are holding the event on Thursday to raise awareness of the services offered by Newtown Youth and Family Services, and to keep some of those services going.
The Ballpark at Harbor Yard in Bridgeport will be transformed into a soccer field.
"The opportunity to play in a match for this cause, and use the game of soccer as a conduit to enrich the lives of children in our community is something that we as an organization are excited about," said New York Red Bulls II general manager Shaun Oliver.
Newtown Youth & Family Services has been providing mental health and community support services to the Greater Newtown area for more than 30 years. NYFS provides after school activities, support groups, social groups for children with autism spectrum disorder and programs for pre-school, youth and teens as well as provide financial assistance for counseling to children and families.
“We’re so pleased this event has come to fruition,” Mike Svanda, Newtown Pride coach, said. “When the tragedy at Sandy Hook took place we were devastated, as many people were. We were trying to think of a way to help affect change, a real difference for the future. We wanted to play soccer games to raise awareness and bring families together. Our goal is to play soccer to raise funds and awareness for the Newtown Youth & Family Services, and to help implement programs for peer-to-peer mentoring. It is amazing to see the New York Red Bull organization come together for this cause and it’s an honor to be a part of this great event.”
The Thursday evening fundraiser will kick off at 6pm outside of the ballpark with a fun interactive fan zone where all ages are welcome to join in the fun. The stadium will transform into a fun soccer atmosphere for a 7:30 kick off under the lights. Tickets can be purchased online under the "Events" tab of the group's website. They vary in price point starting at $12 with group and family discounts available.