America Supports You: D.C. United Shows Appreciation for Military
By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, May. 23, 2006 The D.C. United Major League Soccer team will express its appreciation for the military June 3 with its 7th Annual Armed Forces Appreciation Day.
The team, working with corporate sponsor IBM, will provide 1,000 free tickets to its game against the New England Revolution for active-duty servicemembers who get a kick out of the sport. It also has partnered with the United Service Organizations of Metropolitan Washington to distribute the tickets through USO's five outreach centers.
The 7th Annual Armed Forces Appreciation Day will begin two hours before the start of the 7:30 p.m. game with "Soccer Celebration," a regular home-game event featuring food, games and corporate-sponsor booths. Skip Kruger, senior director of corporate partnerships for D.C. United, said this festival would have a different feel than most, though.
"This has more of a military flavor," he said. "All of the (military) recruiters are given the opportunity to set up a recruiting booth, along with America Supports You and the USO."
America Supports You is a Defense Department program highlighting grassroots and corporate support for the nation's servicemembers and their families.
Other highlights of the day will include performances by the USO Liberty Belles and the Army Drill Team, Kruger said. A swearing-in ceremony for five to 10 military recruits also is planned.
Joined by patients from Walter Reed Army Medical Center here and the National Naval Medical Center at Bethesda, Md., retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Gary Ambrose will be on hand to kick out the ceremonial game ball, Kathy Carroll, deputy director of development, marketing and events for the USO of Metropolitan Washington, said.
At halftime, D.C. United will present USO of Metropolitan Washington with a check for a portion of the tickets sold for the game, she added.
"Last year it was $5,000, which was incredibly generous," Carroll said, adding that the money goes into the general fund used to support the USO's many local endeavors.
This year's donation from D.C. United will help build new USO service centers in Washington Dulles International Airport and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. Additionally, the organization is building its sixth outreach center in the Washington area, this one at Fort Meade, Md., Carroll said.
"RFK Stadium is located right across from the D.C. Armory," she said, referring to D.C. United's home. "I think when you see folks working to defend America & or doing what they do so selflessly, I think you can't help but want to support that effort."
She said that partnering with D.C. United is a big deal for the USO of Metropolitan Washington. "We're really excited. We love this day, and (D.C. United) always wins," she said.
Tickets must be picked up by active-duty servicemembers, and rank is not a consideration, Carroll said. Should tickets run out before the game, D.C. United is offering military ID holders discounted tickets on game day at the D.C. United "Will Call" window.
D.C. United also will host a veterans appreciation day during its last home game in October, Kruger said.