UNC Tar Heels and Columbus Crew to meet this Sunday in Kirk Urso Memorial Match | Sports
Sports
INDY Week's sports blog

Archives | RSS | Follow on | Add on  

Friday, February 22, 2013

UNC Tar Heels and Columbus Crew to meet this Sunday in Kirk Urso Memorial Match

Posted by Google on Fri, Feb 22, 2013 at 10:46 AM

urso_match_DL2.jpg
When Kirk Urso died at the age 22 last August, his abrupt passing shook the the national soccer community. But, the sense of shock was most acute at two particular places. First was the North Carolina Tar Heels Men’s Soccer program, where Urso appeared in 90 matches from 2008-11—a school record—and captained the 2011 NCAA College Cup champion. The other was the Columbus Crew, the Major League Soccer club that drafted Urso in January 2012 and made him an opening day started, and where he was rehabbing from an injury the night he collapsed and died of arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy, a rare, genetic heart condition.

This Sunday, Feb. 24 at 1 p.m., those two teams will face off in the Kirk Urso Memorial Match at Macpherson Stadium near Greensboro, N.C. All proceeds from ticket sales and a charity auction during the match will go to the newly established Kirk Urso Memorial Fund to support heart health research. The fund operates under the auspices of the Crew Soccer Foundation, the club’s charitable arm, and Sunday’s match is the fund’s initial fundraising event.

According to Crew president and general manager Mark McCullers, the Foundation redefined its focus in 2010 to concentrate on three specific areas: soccer field development in underserved communities, education and literacy programs, and heart health, particularly congenital heart defects and sudden cardiac death.

Urso’s death approximately eighteen months later came as a tragic irony.

“That hit home,” McCullers said, “and we knew creating a fund to ensure Kirk’s legacy around our existing heart health initiatives was the direction we wanted to go.”

The originator of Sunday’s memorial match was actually the Crew’s players, particularly former goalkeeper Will Hesmer, a native of Wilson, N.C. who played college soccer at Wake Forest.

“We have a player seat on the Board of the Directors for the Crew Soccer Foundation, and William was the player representative,” McCullers recalls. “He said this was something that was being discussed [by the players].”

Hesmer, who announced his retirement from professional soccer this week and is now living in Raleigh, is expected to attend Sunday’s match, along with Urso’s parents, who McCullers says gave their blessing for the Crew to establish this fund in memory of their son.

Tickets are available for purchase online until Friday, Feb. 22 at 5 p.m. for $10 each. After that time, match-day tickets will be available at Macpherson Stadium for $15 for adults and $10 for youth.

In conjunction with the match, the club will hold a silent auction to raise further proceeds for the Urso Fund. Some of the more notable items donated to the auction include a Landon Donovan USMNT autographed jersey, a Mia Hamm autographed ball, 2012 MLS Cup team jerseys signed by the Houston Dynamo and L.A. Galaxy, and—perhaps most most coveted in the N.C. area—two tickets to the upcoming UNC vs. Duke men’s basketball game in Chapel Hill. The auction will run throughout the match, and bids may be placed both at the stadium and online.

The Crew face the Montreal Impact in a friendly this Saturday as part of the finale to the Disney Soccer Classic in Florida. Consequently, McCullers says roughly half their squad will travel to North Carolina in advance to prepare for Sunday’s match against the Tar Heels, while the remainder of the team will fly up following the Impact game.

Coincidentally, at the same time as the Urso Memorial Match, the Carolina RailHawks will take on another MLS club, the Vancouver Whitecaps, in a preseason friendly down I-40 in Cary. For cost, marketing and revenue purposes, it’s worth wondering why a joint, double-header event could not be coordinated between the parties. Such a combined effort would have afforded all area fans and supporters the opportunity to not only watch both games and enjoy a grand soccer gala, but also contribute to the Urso charity and honor his memory in the process.

McCullers will only say that there were early, initial discussions about such an event.

“But at the end of the day it didn’t come together,” he continued, “so we wanted to focus on this aspect of it.”

Another recent event that affected the Crew family was former Columbus and USMNT player Robbie Rogers revealing he is gay and stepping away from soccer. Rogers played for the Crew from 2007-11, including the 2008 MLS Cup and Supporters’ Shield winning team.

McCullers says he and the Crew stand with Rogers and his decision.

“He was a member of the Crew family, always will be, and that’s unconditional,” McCullers says. “I was surprised, probably more focused on the fact that he’s stepping away from the game, because he’s a very talented player.

“I guess my reaction is that [hopefully] someday this won’t be newsworthy, and guys like Robbie won’t have to make announcements.”

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Pin It

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Sports



Twitter Activity

Most Recent Comments

This was a great read until we got to the World Cup part (who knows or cares, this is America) …

by ProudlyUnaffiliated on A short history of the Dutch in South Africa, 1652-2010 (Sports)

what i gonna to do is to be my hero and be awesome, just like them, cannot change history and …

by heartnecklace on A short history of the Dutch in South Africa, 1652-2010 (Sports)

wwe is too violate, if some can fix it that will be okay.

by heartnecklace on Should North Carolina State try to suplex the WWE? (Sports)

I find myself not caring about any of this. Amazing how such a "strong, proud, powerful people" could lose the …

by 10yearwalk on A short history of the Dutch in South Africa, 1652-2010 (Sports)

Gaffe-r is right...he f8cks up all the time. "A lot of success over the last 3 years"....less smoke blows out …

by DonGarbageBlows on Colin Clarke returns as head coach of Carolina RailHawks (Sports)

Comments

This was a great read until we got to the World Cup part (who knows or cares, this is America) …

by ProudlyUnaffiliated on A short history of the Dutch in South Africa, 1652-2010 (Sports)

what i gonna to do is to be my hero and be awesome, just like them, cannot change history and …

by heartnecklace on A short history of the Dutch in South Africa, 1652-2010 (Sports)

Most Read

No recently-read stories.

Visit the archives…

© 2016 Indy Week • 201 W. Main St., Suite 101, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation