FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (June 11, 2009) - The Kansas City Wizards celebrated Soldiers and military families during Fort Leavenworth Military Appreciation Night at their game against the 2008 MLS Cup Champion Columbus Crew June 6 at CommunityAmerica Ballpark in Kansas City, Kan.

Shayne Donahue, Wizards vice president of ticket sales, said the team wanted to show their appreciation to Soldiers and families with one grand event, rather than several smaller events throughout the season.

"We felt it was more appropriate to focus on one night for Fort Leavenworth to show appreciation for everything you do," Donahue said.

Discounted tickets to the game were sold on post by Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation's Arts, Crafts and Tickets Office.

Activities began about three hours before the game with music, inflatable play houses, human foosball and an autograph session with Wizards players.

The first 100 family members from Fort Leavenworth formed part of a 400-person "human tunnel" to welcome players onto the field before the game.

A color guard from the Medical Activity presented the colors while a choir sang the national anthem.
The Combined Arms Center and Fort Leavenworth 2009 Noncommissioned Officer and Soldier of the Year, Sgt. Jovan Luna and Spc. Thomas Rincon, were recognized and participated in the pre-game coin toss. A CAC coin with Year of the NCO logo was used for the coin toss, and a similar coin was presented to each of the officials and team captains.

Capt. Brian Sole, aide to Command and General Staff College Deputy Commandant Brig. Gen. Edward Cardon, was at the game with his wife, Laura, and 7-year-old son, Maguire. Sole is a self-proclaimed "soccer nut" and said Maguire is a rising soccer star.

"I'm very appreciative of the Wizards organization for their effort in recognizing the military community out here at Fort Leavenworth," Sole said. "I'm often overwhelmed by the continued support we receive from our local communities and am proud to continue my service for them and my country."

Sole said the best part of the evening was taking his son down onto the field to be part of the human tunnel. He said Maguire was impressed with Wizards goalkeeper Kevin Hartman's gloves, describing them as "really smooth and cool looking."

The Wizards ticket office estimates that 500 tickets were sold to Fort Leavenworth Soldiers and families.

The Crew defeated the Wizards 2-0, with both goals scored by 2008 MLS Most Valuable Player Guillermo Schelotto. The Wizards next game is at 7:30 p.m. June 13 at CommunityAmerica Ballpark against the New England Revolution.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16