HOUSTON — The MLS season may be over but there is still one game left that matters in Texas.
Stuart Holden, a former Houston Dynamo player and Houston resident, has pulled from his list of contacts to organize a soccer charity game to raise money benefitting the victims of Hurricane Harvey and the Houston community.
The game, dubbed ‘Kick In For Houston’, will take place at BBVA Compass Stadium on Saturday and will feature a bevy of sports celebrities in a 7-v-7 match. The match will air on FS1 on Sunday at 6:30 pm ET.
The goal is to raise $500,000, all of which will go directly to Dynamo Charities and the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund.
“My other hope is that we’re going to build a field in inner-city Houston,” Holden said. “And kind of have a legacy effect that will last longer than this money ever will.”
Having an effect larger than just money is how ‘Kick In For Houston’ came to be born. Holden was in bed in LA while Hurricane Harvey was inundating the Bayou City and the throng of pictures friends and family from Houston were uploading on social media caused him to take action.
“Friends of mines were getting in boats and helping other families escaped the floods. It was pretty heartbreaking scenes,” Holden said. “I sent one tweet on social media that was inspired by that and just said, ‘What can I do to help from LA as opposed to just making a donation?”
Holden did eventually make a donation but wanted to do more.
“I wanted to do something above and beyond with the platform that was afforded to me from my time in Houston," said Holden. "That’s where I really felt like I built my name and got my career kickstarted.
“Houston afforded me that opportunity and I wanted to be able to give back using that platform. And that’s exactly what I was able to do.”
For the match on Saturday, Holden and Nash are team captains and have selected their players via a draft. Apart from the match, there will be post-game penalty kicks for charity, which is sponsored by Continental Tires, who will match all the dollar amounts from the made penalties.
Aside from organizing and playing in the charity match, this will be an emotional game for Holden, who saw his promising career cut short due to injuries. When he was with the Dynamo, the club had yet to move to BBVA Compass Stadium and was still playing its games at the University of Houston Robertson Stadium.
“Look, that’s the whole reason I did this game: so I can play a game at BBVA Compass Stadium,” Holden said before bursting into laughter. “In all honesty, it is going to be a really special moment for me because I was a part of the original franchise in Houston when we played at Robertson Stadium.”
Holden adds that this will be his first time playing in a game, aside from pick-up games in LA, since he tore his ACL in the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup.
For those unable to attend but still looking to help, Holden said the best way for people to partake is by visiting the website kickinforhouston.com and donating.
Aside from the aforementioned players participating in the game, others include:
- Seven-time Cy Young Award Winner Roger Clemens
- Houston Astros Third Baseman Alex Bregman
- NASA Astronaut Scott Kelly
- Five-time Olympic skier and Gold Medalist Bode Miller
- Six-time NFL Pro Bowl Wide Receiver Chad Ochocinco
- YouTube sensations Jake Paul and Kade Speiser
- Houston Dynamo legend Brian Ching and Dwayne De Rosario
- MLS forward Charlie Davies
- Former Houston Texans Center Chris Myers
- International soccer legend Michael Essien
- US Women’s National Team legend Mia Hamm
- NBC Sports soccer analyst Kyle Martino
- FOX Sports soccer analyst Alexi Lalas
- Former US Men’s National Team forward Eddie Johnson
- FOX Sports soccer analyst Fernando Fiore
- US Men’s National Team legend Brian McBride
- FOX Sports soccer play-by-play John Strong
- San Jose Earthquakes forward Chris Wondolowski
- MLS and US Men's National Team left back DaMarcus Beasley