Another sunny weekend to remember . . . . Our second annual Steve Nash Foundation Charity Shield LA brought us seaside to the Hermosa Beach pier, first to Playa Hermosa and then to Watermans, and then back to The Campus at Playa Vista‘s Central Park – more fun in the sun! We welcomed back last autumn’s supporters Niky’s Sports, Panini Kabob Grill, tabl’eau Filtered Water, Sator Soccer, and Playa Physical Therapy, and were thrilled to welcome west-coast newcomers Legends, Open Goaaal!, Golden Road Brewing, NYCFC, Halo Top Creamery, Rolling Leaf Tea, Trader Joe’s, and BODYARMOR into the Charity Shield fold.
Our Shield Friday Night brought together another wonderful table of supporters, each donating to “buy” a team that they drew randomly from a bucket o’ jerseys (local Legends brand Enzo’s, hand dyed by young local artist Otis Holland, and printed by local family business Niky’s Sports). Wrapped in their Charity Shield supporters scarves, owners enjoyed Playa Hermosa’s great food, delicious sparking and still water from tabl’eau’s gorgeous glacial blue artisan glass bottles, and some delicious after-dinner tea from our NYC friends, Rolling Leaf. Our guests flew in from near and very far, and we couldn’t have enjoyed their company more!
After dinner, our All-Out Players joined Steve for a pint over at Watermans (right across the pier – gotta love beachside life!), where they received their team assignments and kits (including Legends shorts and Nike shoes). As our players starting arriving, the night rolled along courtesy of our outstanding hosts at Watermans, and our new friends at Golden Road Brewing – their beers were perfect, and fueled a pretty great time. Our players checked in, found out what teams they’d be playing for, and got a little loose with our beloved Charity Shield (here’s looking at you, Stu) . . . . Players were gifted some sweet Legends backpacks filled with the best socks ever by Legends, CBD bars by Beam, and more fun items from Open Goaaal!, Halo Top Scoop Shop, and Sator Soccer.
The morning – as it does – came early, but our volunteers and sponsors had the pitch and park looking great and our athletes had their game face on! Arriving at Central Park, they met our wonderful volunteer refs – Stephen Cooper, Marc Dauber, Rick Gates, and Jon Kean – and our volunteer team- an incredible crew made up of standouts from BDA Sports, San Diego State University’s Sports MBA program, Pepperdine University’s Sport Administration Major, and Loyola Marymount’s Mens Soccer Team and more, and got ready to go.
Fourteen teams – Bauru, Chapecó, Cooper’s Block, Les Ulis, Louth, Malleo, Maracanã, Palermo, Rocinha, Saanich, Santos, Stormville, Ware, and Zuidoost – made up of players largely meeting for the first time, inspired high competition, with the top four from each pool advancing to the Shield rounds: Les Ulis, Chapecó, Stormville, Palermo, Rocinha, Maracanã, Saanich (Steve’s team!) and Malleo. The Charity Shield drew co-ed players ages 21-65, from recreational to pro, but these mixed teams created parity and great competition! Thankfully, tabl’eau mixed with BODYARMOR and GreensPlus provided phenomenal hydration, and snacks from Trader Joe’s and Panini Kabob Grill‘s generous lunch servings keep everyone fueled and ready for the day . . . after six games a piece, the Shield had all of our participants ready for some Golden Road Brewing and Halo Top Creamery – thank you to Halo Top Scoop Shop and Anheuser-Busch InBev for cooling us off and refueling the day! We were thankful to have local sports advocates Zog LA and Sand and Surf on hand to share what they’re doing, along with our friends at RISE to WIN, who again joined us to register our athletes and attendees to vote, continuing to engage our supporters in their communities.
In the end, Team Rocinha (owned by the great Stu Holden, who kindly jumped on the mic to emcee the final like the pro he is) overtook the challenge of Team Palermo to win the Shield! Congratulations to MVP Arne Friedrich, who won a trip to our spring 2020 Charity Shield in NYC . . . and then generously donated the trip back (we’ll pick a new winner soon!). All of our champs won tickets to LAFC’s final home game, courtesy of LAFC, and some great winner’s swag from Legends! And a big thank you to Stu, who donated his winnings (the $3,000 cash pot offered by supporter – and Palermo player-owner – Jeff Feinberg) back to the Steve Nash Foundation to support our work (for those of you keeping track at home, we are 5/5 of Charity Shield owners donating the pot)! Stu’s name will be added to the Shield as the one to beat next autumn!
A huge thank you to all of our wonderful volunteers – new and returning – the training crew from Playa PT that did some serious work to keep our athletes going, all of the players and owners, our sponsors, and our venue hosts, Watermans and The Campus Playa Vista – 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 to play in NYC next spring with us today!