Fans at RFK Stadium will soon notice a new banner hanging in the upper deck alongside those of the ten teams of Major League Soccer. It won't be one of the two rumored expansion teams, however; rather it will be the first member of D.C. United's My Club program.
St. Mary's Youth Soccer of California, Md. was the first participant in the My Club program, designed to give area youth soccer clubs a chance to become part of the D.C. United family for a night. As a club, St. Mary's took on a block of 500 tickets to sell as a fundraiser for the club. As part of their My Club marketing plan, SMYS promoted D.C. United's June 12 match against the Colorado Rapids in local newspapers and through the St. Mary's Youth Soccer website. An e-mail campaign was created, along with a courtesy phone call to individual club coaches from D.C. United.
In recognition of SMYS's commitment to the My Club program, as well as their sales success, members of their youth teams took part the pre-game festivities at the June 12 match. Players from the club were chosen to serve as official ball kids and team escorts, and representatives from the club's teams played a series of exhibition mini-games on the RFK pitch prior to warm-ups. SMYS also served as the official team tunnel during pre-game introductions. If you would like more information on D.C. United's My Club program, or to sign up your youth soccer club, contact Dan Giffin or Mike Harloff at 202-587-5000.
And the nominees are ...
D.C. United's Freddy Adu was announced last week as a nominee for the 12th annual ESPY Awards. Adu was named one of five nominees for "Best Breakthrough" for 2004. The 15-year-old phenom will compete against fellow youngster Michelle Wie, basketball stars Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James, and Carolina Panthers quarterback Jake Delhomme for the award.
This year's ESPY Awards will take a new step, as the awards will be determined solely by fan input. Fans can vote at www.espn.com, with voting running now through July 9. Winners will be announced at the 2004 ESPY Awards on Wednesday, July 14, with a televised broadcast to follow on ESPN Sunday, July 18 at 9 p.m. ET.
In addition, Adu was named as the 47th most influential minority figure in sports. Adu was the only soccer figure on the list, published in the June 28 issue of Sports Illustrated, ranking above such notable figures as Venus Williams and Michael Vick.
The quest for the Atlantic Cup continues this weekend, as the Black-and-Red host their rivals from the north, the MetroStars. The match, which will be broadcast live on ESPN2 at 5 p.m. ET, is the second of four games in the annual competition that recognizes one of the most intense rivalries in Major League Soccer. A continuation of the long-standing rivalry between the metropolitan areas of Washington, D.C. and New York, N.Y., the Atlantic Cup is awarded to the team who wins the season series between D.C. United and the MetroStars.
The MetroStars currently hold the cup, as well as the advantage in the 2004 series, courtesy of a 3-2 win on April 17. United looks to continue their four-match unbeaten streak and strong home form to send the visitors from up I-95 home as losers this weekend.