Darby Uses Soccer to Support Cancer Group
Players from Pisa Calcio and Pisa Grande Cuore battle for control of the soccer ball during a Camp Darby charity soccer tournament.

LIVORNO, Italy - Camp Darby recently hosted a charity soccer tournament to assist an Italian organization that aids families of children stricken by cancer.

Squads that played in matches for the support group - Association of Parents of Children Affected by Leukemia or Tumors - included Pisa Calcio, a professional team in the Italian series B league; Pisa Grande Cuore, a side formed by the city's mayor and administrators; and a contingency from Camp Darby.

Calcio, which practiced on Camp Darby for several months, drew a crowd of spectators outside the gates when the team prepared for its current season.

Besides providing a chance for these fans to enter the installation to cheer on their hometown heroes, the friendly competition continued a longtime rapport existing between the host nation and the U.S. military, noted Col. Raffaele Iubini, Italian base commander,

"We had 200 guests visit the base to watch the tournament," said Iubini. "We consider Camp Darby to be an integral part of the community; our goal is to continue building positive relationships."

Lt. Col. Steven Cade, commander of U.S. Army Garrison Livorno, added that the experience underlined a friendship between two countries.

"This (was) a great event that shows the personal and working relationships between Italy and the United States of America," said Cade. "This small tournament of three teams confirms, through the popular game of soccer, the strong ties of friendship and brotherhood between Italians and Americans.

"It is important as individual ambassadors," he continued, "that we (Camp Darby community members) take the time to share our own fortune and blessings with others. It felt good to be able to present AGBALT with 800 euro to help children suffering from leukemia."

The check that was presented at the beginning of the soccer tournament was raised from a golf outing sponsored by the Air Force's 31st Munitions Squadron and by a donation from Global Credit Union.

Page last updated Fri January 18th, 2008 at 08:39