Newtown families packed in the local youth academy to get autographs and pictures with MLS current players, and soccer legends.
Newtown Youth Academy housed the likes of Landon Donovan, Kristine Lilly, Mia Hamm, Newtown's own Marcus Tracy, and many other soccer stars from the MLS. There were multiple autograph stations, a question and answer session hosted by ESPN's Bob Ley, and I even saw a pickup game started by ESPN soccer analyst Alexi Lalas.
About 1500 people crowded into the turf wing at the NYA, eager to meet these players, and they left with smiles on their face. Newtown, who is still in shock over what has a little over a month ago, is still in the healing and rebuilding stages, and the MLS recognized this and did not fall short of trying to cheer us up.
The MLS Staff and players could not have been nicer, and talking to all of them was just amazing. As I was online waiting for Mia Hamm's autograph, Kristine Lilly sought me out from the line to tell me that she remembered me from playing together at Chelsea Piers, another event organized by NYA that happened a few weeks ago. Also Landon Donovan was able to make a little girl stop crying, who apparently had not stopped crying for an hour prior.
I wrote an article a few weeks ago about professional sports, and their tributes to my hometown of Newtown. The event was spectacular, and Newtown families could not have been happier walking out of that place. It is truly amazing that all of these professional sports communities have come to pay their respects and tributes, and it just makes the healing process a little bit easier, some more for others.
Together, we can do this, because we are Newtown Strong. And your continued support will only help us get back to some sort of normalcy.