Zac MacMath and Dillon Serna have been recognized for their selflessness both on and off the pitch, but after partnering with Coca-Cola to visit active duty service members and their families they say they are humbled by the real-life sacrifices of the United States military men and women.
Last week, MacMath, Serna and Rapids' alumni Bobby Burling took a trip to Rocky Mountain United Service Organization (USO) at Fort Carson to conduct an afternoon of soccer clinics with over 50 military children ranging from 8-12 years old.
"A lot of (USO) kids have mom or dads that are deployed, so this was a cool opportunity for them to get out and meet someone famous," USO Fort Carson's Center Operations Supervisor Katie Kerry said. "They were pretty excited to work with the guys and it was cool to see them come down here and give back by hanging out with our military kids."
The USO is a nonprofit organization that strives to provide an atmosphere where troops and their families can decompress from the rigors of their daily lives. To assist in that decompression, the Rapids duo shared that their main objective for the visit was to spend the afternoon with the children, to bring a smile to their faces and to play the beautiful game.
“We appreciate the military families so much," Serna said. "It was a good opportunity for us to come out and put a smile on the kids' faces, while letting them play some soccer. I hope they learned some new things and will continue to play and develop."
Following the soccer clinics, the players signed autographs, posed for photos, and passed out Colorado Rapids gear.
“You could tell the kids were energized and it seemed like they all had a great time and learned some new soccer skills,” MacMath said. "Hopefully they got a little appreciation for soccer and want to continue playing and growing the sport. Maybe one day they’ll join a team and become professionals like us."
Tickets were distributed to the Rapids’ August 11th match against San Jose Earthquakes for Military Appreciation Night, presented by Coca-Cola, where the club will celebrate our armed forces.
“Military Appreciation Night is one of the most meaningful events of the year,” Rapids' Senior Director of Communications Ryan Madden said. “To have members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their families with us is a tremendous honor for the club, as well as the entire Kroenke Sports and Entertainment family. It's going to be a very special night.”
Throughout the game, there will be several tributes to the U.S. Armed Forces, including representation of each military branch in the Honor Guard, a halftime enlistment ceremony, Heroes recognition, and a $10,000 donation to the USO on behalf of the Rapids and Coca-Cola.
Military tickets are free with the purchase of an additional ticket to the match. For more information, or to purchase tickets, please visit ColoradoRapids.com or call 303-825-GOAL.