Courtesy of the Columbus Crew
COLUMBUS — The Columbus Crew and its charitable arm, the Crew Soccer Foundation, today unveiled plans for the inaugural Kirk Urso Memorial Match.
The Black & Gold will play a preseason exhibition game against the University of North Carolina on February 24 at 1 p.m., with all proceeds benefiting the Crew Soccer Foundation’s Kirk Urso Memorial Fund. The Urso Fund was launched in late 2012 to support heart health research and programming in memory of the Crew midfielder who passed away at the age of 22 from a congenital heart defect last August.
“When we announced the Kirk Urso Memorial Fund it was intended to honor Kirk’s legacy by funding research initiatives focused on congenital heart defects and sudden cardiac death in youth,” said Crew President and General Manager Mark McCullers. “The inaugural Urso Memorial Match provides a valuable opportunity to once again draw attention to this goal and garner support through the sport of soccer. Both the Crew and University of North Carolina are humbled to be involved with the match, and we look forward to raising awareness and driving proceeds for the Urso Fund.”
Urso was originally selected by the Crew in the first round (No.10 overall) in the 2012 Supplemental Draft, and appeared in six games (five starts) with one assist last season before being sidelined by injury. He was a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he made four consecutive NCAA Men’s College Cup Final Four appearances and captained the team to the 2011 NCAA National Championship. Urso was admired for his unwavering work ethic and steadfast character both on and off the field.
“Working with the Columbus Crew to support the Kirk Urso Memorial Fund is an honor. We at the University of North Carolina love Kirk and his family and hope to be involved for many years to come,” said University of North Carolina Head Coach Carlos Somoano. “UNC and the Columbus Crew were dear to Kirk and hopefully the teams he loved, through the game he loved, will raise dollars, awareness and intentions for the Memorial Fund.”
The match pits the Crew against Urso’s college alma mater at Macpherson Stadium in Browns Summit, N.C. Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 on game day (the student price on game day will remain $10). Standard seating and lawn seating are both available, with all tickets serving as general admission. Tickets can be purchased by calling (336) 669-0841 or by visiting TheCrew.com/UrsoFund, with donations for the Urso Fund accepted via the same URL. Additionally, there will be auction items at the match benefiting the Urso Fund, including: 2013 Columbus Crew team-signed items, UNC men’s basketball tickets, a signed ball from U.S. Women’s National Team legend Mia Hamm and more.
The Urso Memorial Match caps the Black & Gold’s preseason camp following an 18-day trip to Orlando, Fla. for the Disney Pro Classic. The Crew begins the 2013 MLS regular season on March 2 at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. against Chivas USA.