Suns News

Nash's Charity Soccer Event Still Kicking in Fifth Year

Nash's charity event features professional soccer players and NBA players hitting the pitch.
(Stefan Swiat/Suns.com)
By Stefan Swiat, Suns.com
Posted: June 27, 2012

With the 2012 NBA Draft on deck and free agency beginning on July 1, soccer enjoyed one of its last days in the spotlight Wednesday when Suns point guard Steve Nash and his foundation hosted the Showdown in Chinatown charity soccer match in New York’s Lower East Side.

Recently, there has been a palpable buzz throughout the sports world surrounding the current FIFA European Championships and who will be crowned Europe’s top soccer country for the next two years. With the tournament’s championship game coming up this weekend, Nash’s soccer match was able to piggyback off of that momentum and draw a capacity crowd to come out and watch NBA players and professional soccer players lace it up at Sara D. Roosevelt Park.

“It’s always amazing to see how many fans come out and support it,” the Suns playmaker said. “The players come from far and wide on their own dime, support this cause and play for these fans. It’s an amazing relationship.”

Some of the hoopers that came out for the event included the Sixers’ Elton Brand, the Bucks’ Mike Dunleavy and the Spurs’ Danny Green. The Suns’ Grant Hill, who twice participated in the event over the years, made an appearance before leaving to watch his wife, Tamia, perform at the Beacon Theater on the Upper West Side.

One of the endearing aspects of the event is witnessing renowned athletes like Brand and Dunleavy attempting to master a sport so foreign to them.

“My experiences with soccer came down to the tips I got in the lobby before coming out here,” Brand said smiling. “I just wanted to come out and support the charity and the foundation because Steve is a good guy and I just happened to be in the New York-area.”

The event was in its fifth year of existence, with the proceeds going towards programs for underserved children. Nash, whose first passion as a child was soccer, spends his offseasons playing soccer in his summer home of NYC.

“I play on this field,” the NBA All-Star said of the cozy park. “This is my team’s home field. So it felt like a natural fit to hold the event here.”

Some of the notable names from the soccer world that attended the event were Salomon Kalou of the English Premiere League’s Chelsea and former US National Team player Jimmy Conrad. Former FIFA World Player of the Year Thierry Henri and Italian soccer star Giuseppe Rossi, who have been past participants in the event, also made appearances at the match.

The hour-long match (which ended up being an hour and five minutes) finished as an 8-8 tie between the green and white team, with Kalou taking home MVP honors. At the end of the festivities, Nash stated that he plans on holding the event as long as he can continue to compete.

“As long as I can keep playing I’m going to keep doing this,” the two-time MVP said. “And even beyond that, I’ll come out and watch.”

Afterwards, fans that purchased tickets were invited to the “Showdown After Hours” event, which served as a chance to meet and mingle with the participants and raise funds for the Steve Nash Foundation's platforms in an auction setting.

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