Sun’s out fun’s out . . . . Our second Steve Nash Foundation Charity Shield up’ed all the stakes – and not just the prize pot from The Gem Saloon! With a stunning new location overlooking Manhattan, talented athletes, incredible volunteers, and sponsors that knew just what we needed – The Gem Saloon, Nike, Guinness, Lyft, the NYCFC and New York Red Bulls, with support from BODYARMOR, Halo Top Creamery, and tabl’eau Filtered Water – the whole weekend was a kick.
Shield Friday Night started early this year at The Gem Saloon, with a dinner for team owners and some special guests: Charity Shield athletes Charlie Davies, Stu Holden, and Amin Elhassan rounded out a great night with new friends and old. Over the last few months, donors have “bought” our teams, and on Friday night, they selected from a menu of options, not knowing which team Steve was on; when no one chose his, a round of pub trivia awarded Team Saanich to a true fan. Receiving our first-ever Charity Shield scarf, donor diners enjoyed deliciously prepared meals by our friends at the Gem, Guinness from personally engraved pint glasses, and tabl’eau filtered still and sparkling water from tabl’eau’s gorgeous glacial blue artisan glass bottles, etched with the Charity Shield logo. After dinner, players joined in the fun, filling the Gem as they checked-in and received their team assignments and Nike kits, perfectly printed again by SportsTime, along with a very popular tabl’eau moj’eau water bottle. Our volunteers made the night: thank you to the women of Adelphi University’s soccer team, and some exceptional local talent, too!
Saturday morning came early (as it often does), and we made our way to Brooklyn: this year’s Charity Shield doubled as the premiere event at Socceroof, the borough’s beautiful new home for football friends. Ten covered five-a-side pitches lined with windows, a rooftop lounge and an indoor bar provided a perfect place to spend the day, overlooking the Statue of Liberty and the Manhattan skyline. Lyft got all of our gear there in style, players found their teammates, owners found the sunlit hammocks, and the whistles blew!
Twenty teams of five — Bauru, Chapecó, Cooper’s Block, Hackney, Kearney, Killybegs, Les Ulis, Louth, Malleo, Maracanã, Montevideo, Mosney, Palermo, Rocinha, Saanich, Santos, Stormville, Vitoria, Ware, and Zuidoost — duked it out on the fields, with the top two from each pool advancing to the Shield rounds. Play was fierce, with the smaller fields emphasizing footwork and teamwork, and our teams were up to the challenge! Pro’s, semi-pros, college standouts, and hardcore rec league’rs mixed with players that just loved being there, achieving a great blend of parity and passion. Before the playoffs began, we paused to raffle off Lyft credits and swag, and a (coveted) night’s stay at our home-away-from-home in NYC, Hotel Indigo LES, have some lunch (provided by the Gem), and enjoy a Pints and Half-Pints social with Guinness and Halo Top Creamery (you know it’s going to be a good day when a freezer full of ice cream arrives).
The Shield Rounds progressed to the Shield Semi’s, where Bauru defeated Killybegs and Malleo beat Rocinha to meet in the Final. With some outstanding play, including a bear hug between two top players, Team Malleo emerged Charity Shield champs! Congratulations to MVP Derek Kierans, who won a walk-on spot in this summer’s 11th annual Steve Nash Foundation Showdown (get your tickets now)! Congratulations (and a big thank you!) also go to owner of Team Malleo, Bill Villafranco of Villafranco Wealth Management, with an impressive back-to-back win (last year, Bill owned Steve’s team)! Bill and his colleagues generously donated the $5,000 cash prize back to the Steve Nash Foundation (again)!
Thank you to all of our wonderful volunteers – most of them soccer players themselves – the training crew from Sports Chiropractors of New York that kept our athletes going, all of the players and owners, and our venue hosts, the Gem Saloon and Socceroof – we can’t wait to keep growing this event, and look forward to seeing you in the pub and on the pitch next spring! Check out the photos below, and register for 2019 today!