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Fire to participate in USSF Passback Program to aid youth soccer teams

June 29, 2005 - Major League Soccer (MLS) - Chicago Fire News Release

CHICAGO, IL (Wednesday, June 29, 2005) - For the second consecutive year, the Chicago Fire is teaming up with EuroSport, Western Union and the U.S. Soccer Foundation to help out less fortunate youth soccer players by taking part in the Passback Program, an international organization that sends new and used equipment that is in good condition to middle and high schools, start-up teams and recreation leagues.

"The Chicago Fire is proud to join the U.S. Soccer Foundation and others in this tremendously meaningful and successful outreach program," said Fire Community Relations Director Donald Ortale. "The donations of 'new and/or slightly used' soccer equipment generated from throughout the Chicagoland area is a true testament of the giving and sharing nature of our soccer community. We thank everyone in advance for their assistance and generosity."

The Fire will collect items for the Passback Program during two of its remaining home games this season at Soldier Field. On Saturday, July 9 against the New England Revolution and Saturday, Oct. 8 against the Columbus Crew, the Fire will have collection bins located at Gate 0 at Soldier Field, where fans and game attendees are encouraged to drop off their new and gently used equipment.

The team or individual that makes the largest donation during the two Passback Program dates at Soldier Field will receive a $200 gift certificate from Eurosport, whose founders Brendan and Mike Moylan created the donation-based program. The Passback Program will accept any soccer equipment, so long as it is in playable condition.

The Passback Program has donated cleats, shin guards, uniforms and other equipment to areas as remote as Papua New Guinea to children who want to play soccer but cannot afford basic gear. Youth teams in all 50 states and more than 80 countries have benfitted by receiving gear from the Passback Program. The program runs mainly on donations, and last year alone the foundation sent 30,000 pieces of equipment around the globe, with more than 40 percent making its way through the United States.

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