Every year in June, as part of the Portland Timbers’ Stand Together Week, major celebs from the Portland Timbers, T2, and Portland Thorns show up to play soccer in the park with the kids of Four Worlds United. It is a simple event, just players, coaches, volunteers, and kids having a kick-around, but it’s all love. This Monday in Powell Park, we were just as psyched as the kids to see Timbers head coach Caleb Porter, starting goalie Jake Gleeson, and Thorns stalwart Kendall Johnson walk onto the field in shorts and sneakers, ready to play. We weren’t surprised at all to see Timber Joey, the hardest working mascot in MLS.
The marquee names drew a record turnout to the Park, so many that we had to throw 2 then 3 then 4 balls into the mix! What made it really special was how Porter, Johnson and Gleeson played in the sun for more than an hour, laughing, high-fiving, giving pointers and mostly, just acting like kids. In fact, most stayed to the very end, very interested in the work we do.
Our players’ eyes were big at first, but that faded quickly once the game got going everyone was just a player having fun. Porter brought his own kids, who mixed right into the game. Big thanks to the volunteers from Adidas also, who played longer than anyone!
You can be sure that our young Four World players, some who walked over from the local housing development, others who were driven in from afar by generous volunteers, will never forget this Monday night in the park.
How great is our city, where folks from every walk of life are willing to make a difference in the lives of recent immigrant and refugee families?