So nice to be back! Our fourth Steve Nash Foundation Charity Shield was a long time coming, and we couldn’t have been happier to see everyone together again!
We started the weekend off with our owners gathering for dinner with Steve at The Gem Saloon – a mix of familiar faces and new supporters made for such a warm return to the world of events for us, and we were grateful for the wonderful company, food and laughs. Owners were greeted outside the Gem by the world’s best volunteers (true), receiving their SNF Supporter Scarves for access to our exclusive venue. Social tonic sponsor CANN gave the evening a buzz for our owners and the players gathering at the Gem bar, including our All-Out participants, who joined us after dinner to chat with Steve and take some photos. As our owners oohed and ahhed over their ultra-soft Vuori performance wear kits, picked their teams, received gifted shoes from Wolf & Shepherd, and lifetime use mo’jeau water bottles from tabl’eau Filtered Water (who also provided the beautiful glass-blown carafes), anticipation built for a great tournament.
And it delivered! Waking up to sunshine, we headed to Socceroof, home of the Charity Shield NYC since 2018. There, we welcomed back supporters NYCFC, RISE and tabl’eau Filtered Water, and were thrilled to bring Knockaround sunglasses to the Charity Shield roster, and headed outside to warm-up en masse with BLOCK Training‘s Erica Welty and Steve, in BLOCK’s first-ever in-person Daily 8 (check it out!). It took a rooftop to hold all our enthusiasm, and the wind held off just enough for a great start to a day filled with movement – why we love using the BLOCK app everyday!
Heading inside, the incredible team of volunteers that run show were thrown into action, with members of the Seton Hall University Pirates Mens Soccer Team (including team manager extraordinaire Jade and alum Steven) called in to sub for tired athletes. These pirates ran a tight ship (see what we did there?), refereeing, keeping score, score running, serving lunches, subbing in, and keeping us energized all day long with their positivity and pep.
Fourteen teams — Bauru, Hackney, Kearney, Killybegs, Les Ulis, Louth, Malleo, Mosney, Montevideo, Palermo, Saanich, Santos, Ware, and Zuidoost — comprised of players assembled for parity, competed on 5-a-side pitches and were fierce! With six games apiece, the Shield pushed athletes to their limits, and we loved watching teammates (most of whom had just met) inspire each other to dig deep together. Thankfully, Vuori’s Strato Tech Tee outperformed everyone, the perfect moisture-wicking apparel for these athletes! Midway through the day, we paused collectively for lunch from Gem (delicious as always), with athletes enjoying the fresh outdoors of Socceroof’s rooftop lounge in their Knockarounds. And, as the teams sprinted, dove and megged their way through the bracket, four teams advanced to the play-in semis: Montevideo, Ware, Killybegs and Palermo (a big thank you to Zack S. for helping to figure that part out). But first: we took a break for some prize giveaways from Knockaround and Vuori, while our friends at RISE registered our athletes and attendees to vote.
With Ware and Killybegs down players heading into the Finals, SHU’s finest and players from Montevideo and Palermo stepped in to fill rolls on both teams, adding to (and in keeping with) the collaborative spirit of the day. In the end, Ware (owned by Gem Saloon owner Derek Kierans) won the Shield — Derek had left early to head back to work, but accepted a rowdy FaceTime call from the team, and graciously donated the cash pot back to the Foundation (for those of you keeping track at home, we are now 6/6 of Charity Shield owners donating the pot)! The winning team won a bevy of prizes, including Vuori Champions Jackets, tabl’eau moj’eau bottles, Knockaround sunglasses, and times to keep the celebration going together in the Winners Suite at the May 31st NYCFC match.
A huge thank you to all of our wonderful volunteers (new and returning), to Marc Bochner of Sports Chiropractors of New York for keeping our athletes going, all of the players and owners, our sponsors, 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, visit our sponsors this off-season, and get your Charity Shield gear today while it lasts!