Real Salt Lake to honor Tom Fitzgerald at memorial soccer festival
SALT LAKE CITY - Real Salt Lake, the Columbus Crew and The University of Tampa announced today the details for the First Annual Tom Fitzgerald Memorial Soccer Festival that will be held on Sunday, February 13, in Tampa, Florida.
"Tom Fitzgerald was a very dear friend of mine and to be able to participate in a soccer festival in his honor means a lot to me," said RSL Head Coach John Ellinger. "Especially since (wife) Debi Fitzgerald will be there to hand out the trophy to the winner of our game against the Columbus Crew."
The day's events will be held on the campus of the University of Tampa and will feature Real Salt Lake facing Columbus at 6 p.m. ET at Pepin Stadium. The day will also include a Youth Soccer and Goalkeeper Clinic, a Coaching Symposium, a U.S. U-17 National Team and an on-line auction available through RealSaltLake.com, TheCrew.com and ut.edu/athletics. The RSL-Crew game can also be heard on-line at RealSaltLake.com and TheCrew.com, with veteran MLS announcer Dwight Burgess calling the game.
All proceeds from the Festival will help fund the Tom Fitzgerald Memorial Scholarship named after the Tampa soccer coach and former MLS and UCLA head coach, who died in December from injuries suffered in a motorcycle accident.
"I know Tom would be unbelievably overwhelmed by all the support," said Debi Fitzgerald. "It would mean so much to him to have an endowment in his name at the University of Tampa. UT was a place very special to him and a place where he was going to retire from. Columbus was also a special time in our lives. I would say that the pinnacle of Tom's career was his time in Columbus. Lamar (Hunt) and the whole organization were wonderful. He really bonded with the people of Columbus. We loved our time there."
"The Tom Fitzgerald Soccer Festival is another way that we as a team and an organization can show our love and commitment to a man who meant so much to all of us," said Columbus Crew Head Coach Greg Andrulis. "Tom's legacy will live on and what a great way to honor him, by having a soccer festival that combines all elements of the sport. We are proud to be able to help raise money for a scholarship fund in Tom's name that will benefit athletes at the University of Tampa."
"This is a great tribute to one of the all-time greats," said UT men's soccer coach Adrian Bush. "We are very excited to bring in the Under-17 National Team, two Major League Soccer teams, national-caliber coaches from throughout the country, and a major sponsor, adidas, for their continued support of UT soccer. The Festival is also a great opportunity for kids and a great opportunity for soccer. Tom will be looking down on us and smiling on February 13."
"Tom had a profound influence on myself and Keith Fulk in our coaching careers," said U.S. U-17 National Team Head Coach John Hackworth. "We would like the next generation of players to be a part of that and to be able to see all the things that Tom has contributed to the soccer community."
The clinic includes coaches from MLS, the U.S. National Team, and the University of Tampa. Boys and girls from ages 6-14 will learn from Ellinger, Real Salt Lake assistant coach Peter Mellor, Andrulis, former UT head coach and current U.S. Soccer staff coach Jay Miller, Hackworth, former UT head coach and current U.S. U-17 Men's National Team assistant coach Keith Fulk, Bush, and UT women's soccer head coach Bobby Johnston. The cost is $50 per child and includes a ticket to both games. The coaching symposium will be conducted by Miller and Hackworth which is open to all coaches who purchase tickets to the two games.
The cost of admission for adults 18 and older is $12, $7 for kids 12-17, and $5 for children under 12. Tickets can be purchased by calling (813) 253-6240 ext. 3100. Donations to the Tom Fitzgerald Memorial Scholarship Fund can be mailed to: Tom Fitzgerald Memorial Scholarship Fund, University of Tampa, 401 W. Kennedy Blvd., Box I, Tampa, FL 33606. For further information, please contact UT men's head coach Adrian Bush at (813) 253-6240 ext. 3407 or by e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or UT men's assistant coach Maurice Loregnard at (813) 253-6240 ext. 3184 or email@example.com.
The schedule for the Sunday Feb. 13 Tom Fitzgerald Festival is as follows:
11 a.m.-2 p.m. Youth Soccer and Goalkeeper Clinic
2 p.m.-3 p.m. Coaching Symposium
4:00 p.m. U.S. U-17 Men's Blue vs. U.S. U-17 Men's White
6:00 p.m. Columbus Crew vs. Real Salt Lake
3-8 p.m. On-line auction at RealSaltLake.com, TheCrew.com and ut.edu/athletics