Columbus Crew head coach Greg Andrulis announced Sunday that "Soccer Aid II," a unique adrenaline-loaded fundraiser for Juvenile Diabetes Research, will kick off Sunday night at midnight.
The exciting program that was launched in the United States by Andrulis in 2003, will capitalize on soccer fans' passion for the sport to raise money for a disease that is very important to Greg and his family, Juvenile Diabetes. Greg's nine-year-old son Austin has diabetes.
The concept is simple. Soccer fans bid on-line at TheCrew.com and MatchNight.com for a chance to win autographed soccer jerseys of premier soccer players from the U.S. and around the world, as well as a chance to experience the thrill of match day at Columbus Crew Stadium.
The winning bidder will not only receive the autographed jersey, but will also get two tickets to the Crew's game vs. Freddy Adu and D.C. United on Aug. 21, a "Soccer Aid" T-shirt, play a 30-minute game prior to the Aug. 21 game, and participate in a post-game reception with Crew players and staff.
Last year's Inaugural "Soccer Aid" consisted of 30 participants and raised over $13,000 for the Mid-Ohio Chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF).
"Our family is committed to fund-raising for Juvenile Diabetes Research," said Andrulis. "Last year's 'Soccer Aid' was incredible and we are hoping for an even better response this year. Insulin is not a cure. This is about raising much needed research dollars to help find a cure for Juvenile Diabetes. 'Soccer Aid' offers fans a chance to live the dream of being their favorite player. Soccer is about passion, an unrivaled passion that the soccer fan has for the beautiful game. But 'Soccer Aid' is not just about passion for soccer, it's also about compassion."
At least eight jerseys will be available for bidding during four week-long bidding periods. The first bidding period will begin Sunday and run until Aug. 1. Minimum bids for most jerseys will begin at $200. The next three bidding periods are Aug. 1-7, Aug. 7-13 and Aug. 13-19.
The first 10 jerseys up for bid are a Stern John 1999 Crew jersey ($400 minimum), Greg Vanney (U.S. national team), Damani Ralph (Chicago Fire), and Crew jerseys of Frankie Hejduk, Brian Maisonneuve, Robin Fraser, Stephen Herdsman, Eric Denton, Matt Jordan and Michael Ritch. One of the marquee players that will be available at some point is Tim Howard's Manchester United jersey.
"Soccer Aid" is fashioned after the highly successful "Football Aid" program from the United Kingdom, which grew out of a father's desire to create an exciting and rewarding way to raise funds for diabetes research. Craig Paterson founded "Football Aid" in May 2001 in the U.K. "Football Aid" is now global with events throughout Europe. "Football Aid" has raised over $2 million and has had over 4,500 participants.
Details on how to bid for jerseys for "Soccer Aid" will be made available at TheCrew.com and MatchNight.com. Shane Murphy of MatchNight.com will give support and help run the program. For more information concerning "Soccer Aid," please contact Greg Andrulis at 614-492-1283 ext.15.