Gutierrez coordinates online auction

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Kansas City Wizards midfielder and Blue Springs community member, Diego Gutierrez has partnered with St. John LaLande Catholic Church to raise money for the school athletic field renovation project. Gutierrez and the Wizards will auction off game-worn cleats on eBay beginning today.

"This is a very important cause for me personally and I have known the church for a while now. The children need the space to play and grow. Not only the children that go to school there but other youth from the community," said Gutierrez. "This is a community I am very familiar with and I am very happy and honored to be a part of this project."

To start Gutierrez and eight other teammates have each donated an authentic, game-worn, autographed pair of soccer cleats. Proceeds from the auction will help fund the athletic field renovation project. Funds raised will improve the safety for more than 500 children in Blue Springs who use the athletic field located on the parish campus.

Players cleats up for auction include Diego Gutierrez, Chris Klein, Kerry Zavagnin, Josh Wolff and several other Wizards players. All items are up for bid on eBay, at (keywords: Wizards Autographed Soccer Cleats), through Friday, December 10, 2004.

The school has partnered with several local businesses that are providing labor and services in-kind. Gutierrez and the school look to raise over $13,000 to fund the remaining project cost. This auction along with additional fundraising opportunities will hope to offset the cost and help the children in the community continue to grow and have the opportunity to participate in recreational sports.

Gutierrez's commitment to this project extends beyond the auction. He will work with members of the school to secure sponsors and has also committed to hosting several soccer clinics once the field is complete in 2005.

"Diego takes time out of his busy schedule to give back to this community through clinics and motivational talks to our children," said Fr. Don Farnan, Pastor. "He is a role model for Dads through the parenting of his own three children. He is an example for young people through the completion of his college degree this year in spite of the glamorous interruption of a professional soccer career. He remains a Wizard and a captain in many ways to many people."

For more information on how you can become involved please contact Kerry Essmann at St. John LaLande Catholic Church and School at 816-229-3378.

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