Tucked away in the Great Northwest, there's a soccer team called the Seattle Sounders. Covering that team for SB Nation is the excellent site Sounder At Heart. We can't say enough about the job they do in covering their team, it's one of the best soccer blogs on the Internet.
They could be satisfied with just covering their team and creating a community that is second to none. But they aren't. They engage their readers in the real world, and they do that to support some great projects. A couple of those efforts deserve notice.
A recent addition to their writing staff is Liviu Bird. He learned the game of soccer playing in youth leagues in Alaska. Soccer in Alaska? Yes, it happens. Now, Liviu Bird is getting involved in raising money to create a soccer field for one of the Alaska schools. Here's the gist:
A friend of mine who I played men's league with, Andreas Droulias, is trying to change that for one lucky village about an hour away from my hometown. Nenana is not much to look at, and I never went there except on the six- to eight-hour drive to Anchorage.
Nenana High School's coed team has existed since 2001. To this point, a group of dedicated kids and coaches get on a bus for a 20-mile ride to another village, Anderson, for their "home" games.
A year after the program's inception, the school bought a bag of balls and a couple of goals. The team practices on the softball field, but a city block has been cleared for creating a soccer field, mostly through volunteer efforts in chopping down many trees and hauling them away.
Now, the field needs sod. Hauling topsoil from Fairbanks to Nenana, down the Parks Highway, is the biggest and most expensive challenge in the project.
That's a worthy project. It's heart-warming to see a community get involved in a project like this, so we wish them the best in raising the money. The donation page is here if you would like to contribute.
Not content with one project, Sounder At Heart is at work on a second. Dave Clark explains:
In the spring of 2011, after investigating several local community outreach organizations, we began a partnership with Seattle Union Gospel Mission's Hope Place. Hope Place is a women-and-children's center located in the New Holly neighborhood of South Seattle. It offers shelter and resources to women who have been homeless, victims of domestic violence, or who have battled substance abuse. These women, and their kids, are able to stay at Hope Place for up to 12 months as they work to escape their difficult life situations and get back on their feet. Hope Place offers its residents classes in parenting, battling substance abuse, creating a resume and preparing for job interviews, and many other life-skills classes. Hope Place also features the Children's Activities Center, or CAC, where kids can participate in homework club, play games, do arts and crafts, and spend time while their moms are in class.
The guys from the blog, and from the Seattle Sounders team, regularly visit Hope Place, and are holding a viewing party to raise funds.
So if you're looking for another reason to support the boys in Rave Green this season, look no further than the relationships being formed between several Sounders players and the kids at Hope Place.
If you would like to support Seattle Union Gospel Mission's Hope Place, please come to the Sounder at Heart viewing party for the Sounders-Tigres match on March 6. The viewing party will be at Golazo HQ (714 E. Pike St.) The event is free, but donations will be accepted to benefit the Children's Activity Center at Hope Place.
This is just awesome. Congrats to Sounder At Heart for truly having a heart!