Alabama is known for its fervent football fans. And that type of enthusiasm evidently extends to the soccer pitch, as well. Birmingham Legion FC, the Magic City’s new pro soccer team, is building quite the fan base and working hard to establish itself as a very engaged member of the community. That was clear on Friday night, September 13th, when the Legion not only faced off against the team from St. Louis at BBVA Field, but also hosted United Way Community Day.
UWCA volunteers, donors and employees came out to support the effort, which was featured at half-time along with a special video highlighting the team’s interaction with a variety of United Way of Central Alabama (UWCA) partner agencies. Meanwhile, representatives from UWCA’s leadership group Young Philanthropists Society and volunteer center United Way Hands On, as well as partner agencies United Ability, YWCA, Safehouse of Shelby County, Catholic Family Services, Gateway, Children’s of Alabama and Ronald McDonald House, set up tents and displays to showcase the huge impact donations to United Way make throughout our five-county area.
What was United Way Community Day all about? It was a way for Legion FC to say and demonstrate how glad it is to be part of this place we all call home. The team’s intention is not for the players to simply be passing through, but to be fully integrated into everyday life in and around Birmingham. And that includes volunteering, doing good deeds to help others and making this an even better place for us all to live, learn, work and play.
Doug Hicks, Executive Vice President of Birmingham Legion FC, said that the Legion players, who come from eight different countries, were individually selected as much for their strength of character as for their skills on the field.
“We wanted this club to be a face not only for what Birmingham is about, but to be a source of inspiration and unity amongst the people of Birmingham,” said Doug. “We look to be a community asset and something that can bring people together for a better Birmingham. Our guys came here because they believe in what we’re doing. They’re in your grocery stores, they’re in your churches, they’re coaching youth teams and helping out at schools. They are a part of this community.”
Doug explained that now, in order to take the team’s outreach efforts to the next level, the Legion has turned to UWCA. “We knew we could use some of our strengths to bring good to the community, but we didn’t necessarily have the resources to do it ourselves, so we sought out United Way.” As a result, players visited with several United Way partner agencies and directly engaged with numerous children on the field, all while planning this special event to celebrate community spirit.
Here’s hoping that Birmingham Legion FC’s United Way Community Day was the start of something big as well as a long, productive relationship. We look forward to partnering with our new favorite professional soccer team again soon. Until then, Hammer Down! And Live United.