The Ridley United Soccer Club and EL Paso Fusion Soccer Club may be states apart, but providing community-based youth soccer programs unite them.
The mass shootings last weekend only made their bond stronger.
On the morning of Aug. 3, the girls Fusion soccer team was fundraising outside of a Walmart in El Paso to get the financial support for equipment and seasonal play when Patrick Crusius allegedly opened fire on the crowds with assault rifles, killing 22 people and injuring even more. Among the injured were two youth soccer coaches who were in critical condition, a coach’s wife and a player’s mom.
Ridley United went above and beyond with social media messages of thoughts and prayers last week by sending a $1,000 check to the El Paso Fusion Soccer Club. The fusion club’s $30,000 fundraising goal has been gaining momentum since it launched on the crowdsourcing site GoFundMe on Aug. 4 and was approximately $1,500 short of their goal after nine days.
“It was important, very important to step up and work with them,” said Ridley United’s Ways and Means Director Nick Furman. “Growing up in a club there were times we were in the streets fundraising for tournaments and gear.”
Before the shooting, Ridley United had no ties with El Paso Fusion, according to Furman. The Monday immediately following the shooting, Furman said he reached out to the club directly to show his support.
"The coach was in shock that we were reaching out from afar to help their club during a horrific time," said Furman. "He was appreciative and thankful. We talked about the team and the season ahead."
A Wednesday leadership meeting of the club provided consensus to bring monetary support to El Paso.
“Fortunately, we’re a financially healthy club. I wanted to give back as they’re apart of the U.S. Soccer Group as well,” said Furman. “As a part of the U.S. Soccer Association, Ridley United is here to help El Paso Fusion Soccer Club! Everyone stepped up and was instrumental in helping to get the word out to the Ridley United community.
"RUSC and I wish everyone at El Paso Fusion a speedy recovery."
Furman said there were no other fundraising efforts planned by Ridley United to support El Paso, and deferred to their GoFundMe page.