Landon Donovan, other MLS stars, reaching out to Newtown, Conn.

Houston Dynamo General Manager Chris Canetti, like much of the rest of the country, was horrified by the Dec. 14 massacre at Shady Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., that left 20 children and six adults dead.

Unlike much of the rest of the country, he decided to do something about it.


So Canetti, a Connecticut native, got in touch with Eric Da Costa, the Quinnipiac University soccer head coach, and the two of them reached out to youth soccer people they knew in the area, including the Connecticut Football Club youth program.

The result will be on display Jan. 7 when at least 30 Major League Soccer players -- including the Galaxy’s Landon Donovan, Sean Franklin and Rafael Garcia -- join legends of the sport including U.S. World Cup stars Mia Hamm and Cobi Jones and U.S. women’s team captain Christine Rampone for  “Soccer Night in Newtown,” a soccer-themed event open only to Newtown residents.


Local families and children will be able to meet with the players and participate in small-sided games. Dan Courtemanche, MLS’ executive vice president for communications, said the response from the league’s players had been overwhelming, with many calling to find out how they can participate.

Representatives from 11 of the 19 MLS teams -- Chivas USA is among those that are not participating -- have already committed to the event. Included in that group is Marcus Tracy of the San Jose Earthquakes, who grew up in Newtown.


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