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By: Diego Gutierrez

Kansas City Comes Together To Save Lives

June 8, 2017
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It appeared to be just another Saturday morning in Kansas City, but this Saturday was different. On this Saturday, a community came together for a cause that is near and dear to my heart: Nothing But Nets and the fight against malaria. We organized a youth soccer tournament that engaged hundreds of community members and raised thousands of dollars to send bed nets to families in Sub-Saharan Africa.
I collaborated with my friend and former MLS teammate, Nick Garcia, on this successful event. As the Executive Director of Brookside Soccer, Nick promoted the soccer tournament to his coaches and players.  150 kids enthusiastically endured freezing temperatures and played in a 3v3 soccer tournament and had a great time. Prior to the tournament, I educated the crowd about Nothing But Nets and how important their participation was towards saving lives.  Director Chris Helfrich and I held up a mosquito net to show the kids and parents what thousands of parents do each night across the continent of Africa to protect their children from a deadly disease. 
We didn’t do it alone. We were thrilled that local businesses and partners took part in this important event. Rockhurst University hosted us on their main soccer field and The Roasterie founder and owner Danny O’Neil gave out coffee and hot chocolate for contributions to Nothing But Nets. The Taco Republic Truck came by and sold tacos to players and parents. Ten percent of their revenue is going to Nothing But Nets as well. Major League Soccer club Sporting Kansas City donated some great auction items that helped us raise hundreds of dollars and gave our tournament attendees exclusive access to these prizes. The day before our tournament, Fox 4 Kansas City interviewed me about the event and our support for Nothing But Nets. Watch the clip here. 
In total, we raised $3,200, which allows us to send 320 insecticide-treated bed nets to families in Africa. That’s not a bad way to spend a Saturday!
Want to get involved and host an event like this? Click here to learn more. 

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