WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah - Real Salt Lake's goalkeeper, D.J. Countess, is already giving back to the community, just one week after buying his Wasatch Front home, donating his player appearance fee from Saturday's grand opening of the newest Zions Bank "Su Banco" branch to a local child affected by infantile cerebral palsy.
Countess, along with Zions Bank, has agreed to donate the appearance fee to aid Provo native Colby Christensen in raising funds to travel to Poland, where the four-year old will enter into a unique rehabilitation program specializing in her disease.
"I'm very excited to become involved and give back to the community," said Countess. "To see Colby, a little girl, working so hard to raise money and fight for her survival, really touched me. I wanted to help."
Countess first learned of the four-year-old's condition through a friend living in Dallas, Texas, who happened to be reading a Salt Lake City newspaper article on-line and informed him of Colby's story. Countess became very interested and wanted Real Salt Lake to be active in raising funds for her trip.
Saturday's grand opening marks the first meeting between Countess and Colby. Countess is due to leave for RSL preseason training Feb. 1, returning for the team's first official match set for April 2 in New York, while Colby is planning to depart April 1 for the one-month rehabilitation program in Mielno, Poland.
Tracey Christensen, Colby's mother, told her daughter she was going to meet a professional soccer player.
"Cool!" said Colby, with a big smile on her face.
Real Salt Lake will join Countess in contributing funds towards her cause. Countess, Colby, and other RSL players, including Friday's #1 pick in the 2005 MLS SuperDraft, 16-year old Nik Besagno, will appear Saturday at the new branch located at 1635 S. Redwood Road in West Valley City. A donation box for Colby will be set up in the Real Salt Lake booth.