Imagine for a moment you are Colorado Rapids rookie defender Kortne Ford. The match is over. The stadium lights have been turned off. Selfies with fans have been snapped and posted, obligatory interviews with the media are complete.
Your job is done for the day.
However, just as with most people, when Ford’s day job ends his LIFE actually begins. Life away from the pitch is spent with family, friends and oftentimes teammates who play the role of both friend and family member.
“Kortne is an inspiration to everyone around him," former University of Denver teammate, and current Rapids midfielder Sam Hamilton said. "It’s been a blessing to have him as a friend as we begin our careers together. He brings a positive energy and commitment to everything he does, regardless of what is happening in his personal life. He treats every day as an opportunity to improve. He’s taught me to be thankful for what I have, embrace challenges, and live in the moment.”
Many times the bond and trust between teammates is formed off the playing field. In the case of Ford and his Rapids mates, that off-field connection is as unique as any in pro sports. It’s a well-known story to those that follow the Rapids; Kortne’s mother Laurie was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer earlier this year.
“When we heard the news that Kortne’s mom had been diagnosed, my wife asked me what we could do to help the Fords raise money,” teammate and midfielder Micheal Azira said.
Kortne and his mom Laurie have been open about the diagnosis. A GoFundMe page has been set up to raise money for the healthcare costs, and fans leant support to the Ford family by encouraging those in attendance to stand in the 24th minute of matches on May 5 and May 13.
“You can't do life alone. It's good to help out others, because you never know when it could be you next,” Azira added. “He (Ford) being a part of our team means he is family, and no matter what, we try to help each other out.”
Azira and his wife Callaghan spent the night brainstorming ideas of ways to help, and came up with a solution to have players auction off their match-worn jerseys.
“I passed along the idea to the guys, and they were very receptive,” Azira said.
He enlisted the help of teammate Tim Howard to organize the auction, and from there the preparations began.
Beginning Thursday, June 29 at 10AM the auction will open, featuring match-worn autographed jerseys from every player on the Rapids roster. All proceeds will benefit Laurie Ford and her fight against cancer.
“Life is all about praying for those in need and helping them in any way we can. We are called to serve others,” Azira said. “The team coming out to help Kortne and his mom is an honor. That's what teammates do for each other.”
The auction will run from Thursday, June 29 at 10AM through Wednesday, July 5 at 10PM, via the online platform, Gesture. Fans attending the match on July 1 and July 4 can stop by the community relations booth at Section 129 for more information, or can text Rapids to 52182 to bid.