New England Soccer Today

Riders, Rebellion Face off for Charity

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The New England Revolution will be on the road in Kansas City on July 21st, but that won’t stop a large contingent of some of the soccer club’s most vocal supporters from making the trek to Gillette Stadium. Instead of heading to Foxboro for a Revs match, the Midnight Riders and the Rebellion – two of the team’s most prominent supporters groups – will be playing a match of their own and raising money for charity in the process.

The first ever Supporters Cup will take place on the Gillette Stadium field and pit the Riders, an independent Revs supporters group founded in 1995, against the Rebellion, an independent Revs supporters group founded in 2009, in a full field 11 v. 11, 90 minute match. The idea was born at a “Meet the Revs” event and took off with the support of the Revolution.

The Supporters Cup kicks off at 6 p.m. on July 21st at Gillette Stadium.

“It started at the annual ‘Meet the Revs’ event where season ticket holders can be able to chat and interact with the players and staff,” said Mark Purkis, a member of the Rebel HQ, the leadership team of the Rebellion. “It was at that point where I had the opportunity to meet the President of the Revolution, Brian Bilello.

“During our meeting, I asked him about having the Midnight Riders play the Rebellion in a charity soccer match,” Purkis continued. “He responded with complete support and really liked the idea.  He and the marketing department were able to help out in making the game into what we are hoping to be a great event.”

While the two sides are looking forward to the opportunity to take to the Gillette Stadium pitch, they are also using it as an opportunity to raise money for charity by charging to participate in the event. All the money raised by the Midnight Riders is going to Think Taylor, Taylor Twellman’s head injury awareness non-profit, and the New England Revolution Charitable Foundation.

“We have raised money for Think Taylor in the past so it seemed like a natural choice,” said Fran Harrington, President of the Midnight Riders.

“Hopefully some of [Twellman’s] goal scoring ability will rub off on the team too,” Harrington added in reference to the Revolution’s all-time leading goal-scorer who founded the charity.

For the Rebellion, the money raised will be going to The Fisher House, an organization that donates “comfort homes” built on the grounds of major military and VA medical centers for family members to stay at to be close to wounded loved ones, and Little Feet, which provides children in need the equipment and fields to play soccer, as well as the New England Revolution Charitable Foundation.

“The Fisher House was a close choice for our group because we are proud to have great members that have served for our great country,” said Purkis. “Selecting The Fisher House was our way of saying thank you for the troops who defended our freedom.  We have also worked with Little Feet in the past, the idea that if we buy a soccer ball for charity and another soccer ball goes to a child in need is just inspiring.  We as a group appreciate this organization and what they accomplish.”

But while both the Riders and Rebellion are working hard to raise money for charity and both groups support the same team on a Revolution game day – many members of both congregate in sections 142 and 143, “The Fort” – they’ll be going for the win on the 21st and trying to gain some bragging rights on their fellow supporters.

The Riders are hoping their extra experience together will give them the edge.

“Chris Camille, one of our board members, is coaching,” said Harrington. “I think we’ll beat the Rebellion because a lot of the members of the Riders have been playing soccer together for years now… and because we are awesome.”

Meanwhile, the Rebellion haven’t settled on just one coach and have taken to Twitter in search of a former pro player to lead the charge.

“We have a few members who have showed their support to help coach the team,” said Purkis  “We have welcomed all of them who want to be coach.  We also have reached out to Alexi Lalas on Twitter to be our coach!”

But while the Riders are hoping experience and “awesomeness” will lead them to victory, the Rebellion think they know the winning strategy, despite the lack of a clear coach.

“We are hoping to kick the ball into the opposing net more than the Riders do,” said Purkis. “We also hope that we can pass the ball to our teammates better than them.  If we can pass and kick better than the Riders, we like our chances!”

They might just be onto something…

The match kicks off at 6 p.m. on July 21st. More information on the Midnight Riders participation can be found here, and more information on the Rebellion’s participation can be found here.

One Comment

  1. rick sewall

    July 11, 2012 at 6:11 pm

    I played in high school , college, semi pro, over 30 and 40, Connecticut senior all star team, and was on the1975 Minutemen . I have coached very successfully at the town, club, high school, and college levels. I hereby volunteer to coach the Rebellion.

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