'The Best Game Ever’ lived up to it’s billing Sunday afternoon at Avaya Stadium as the Richmond Sol and San Jose New Stars, made up of underserved U-10 youth players, squared off against one another inside the brand new, 18,000 seat home of the San Jose Earthquakes.
After submitting an essay explaining why they were deserving of playing in ‘The Best Game Ever,' both the Sol and New Stars treated family, friends and passionate Earthquakes’ supporters to a memorable display of the world’s game.
Anticipating just a tour of the Bay Area’s new state-of-the-art soccer facility, both teams were instead treated to a full Quakes game day experience. Complete with uniforms hung in the first-team locker room, pregame walk-out music, a national anthem singer and the San Jose Ultras supporters’ group singing loud in encouragement, the Sol and New Stars got a first-hand MLS experience they’ll remember for the rest of their lives.
“This is a lifetime experience for these kids,” San Jose New Stars coach David Rivera told the San Jose Mercury News. “They live in neighborhoods where they’re being exposed to drugs, gangs, violence, you name it. So this is something that’s going to not only change their trajectory, It’s going to save their life.”
Serving as honorary assistant coaches for the youth teams, Quakes defender Jordan Stewart accompanied the New Stars on their bench, and goalkeeper Tomas Gomez did the same for the Sol.
To top it all off, fans were treated to a high-level game of soccer. The New Stars and Sol engaged in an end-to-end, skillful battle, highlighted by two penalty shots.
Regardless of the game’s end result, the Sol and New Stars showed us the importance of community and how bright the future is for these young players, on and off the field.