SAN JOSE, Calif. – The San Jose Earthquakes will host an equipment drive to benefit children from midfielder Jean-Marc Alexandre’s youth soccer academy in Verrettes, Haiti during the club’s home opener against the New England Revolution on March 10.
Collection bins will be located at each gate as well as the Guest Services tent at Buck Shaw Stadium on March 10. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m. PT and gates will open at 5:30 p.m. Suggested items include new and used running shoes, cleats, soccer balls and shin guards for kids ages 6-17. Fans who make a donation will receive a 2-for-1-ticket voucher to attend a future Earthquakes game.
Alexandre was featured in a Mercury News article that was published on Feb. 24 and has since seen an outpouring of support from the Bay Area soccer community. A local lawyer has offered to help Alexandre complete the 501(c)3 process pro bono and a member from the Earthquakes’ front office is working on a website to help collect donations. Fans have also offered to give soccer gear to the academy, including a local seventh grade student who read the article and plans to collect equipment from his middle school teammates. Additionally, the Earthquakes shipped a box of jersey t-shirts to Haiti.
“I am very grateful for the amazing response I have received from the community for my youth academy,” Alexandre said. “My goal is to give kids in Verrettes a positive environment to both play soccer and get an education. The children in my hometown have overcome great adversity in their young lives and I want to be able to give back what I can. Anything fans can do to help would be greatly appreciated by myself and the kids in Verrettes.”
Along with his father, Alexandre has established the base for a youth academy that would provide education as well as an organized soccer team to a group of 7-year-olds. He recently shipped an 18-seat bus to his hometown to allow the kids in his academy to travel to games around the island. In the future, the Alexandres would like to build a campus as well as improvements to the dirt field they use as a venue for home matches.
The 25-year-old Haitian national team product joined the Earthquakes via trade from Real Salt Lake on Dec. 1, 2011 in exchange for a 2012 MLS Supplemental Draft pick. He moved the Florida at age nine and went on to play college soccer for Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla. After college, Alexandre was drafted No. 12 overall in the first round of the 2009 MLS SuperDraft by Real Salt Lake.