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Corporations Kick It for Charity at Qwest Field

Microsoft, Boeing, Starbucks, Expedia play soccer for the Ronald McDonald House Charities
SEATTLE – Anywhere the game is played in the Puget Sound area you’re sure to spot the Rave Green jersey of the Seattle Sounders FC. On Microsoft’s Redmond campus, it’s a similar story where employees purchase their green kits directly from the Microsoft Company Store and utilize the company’s playfields as a part the Microsoft Soccer League. On Saturday, June 13 Microsoft puts forward their league all-star team who will step onto Qwest Field’s Xbox Pitch alongside similarly-assembled, soccer teams from Boeing, Expedia and Starbucks for a day of corporate networking, philanthropy, spirited competition and fun.

The event is open to the public and a suggested $5 donation will be collected at the gates. All proceeds benefit the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Western Washington & Alaska, which provides a "home-away-from-home" for seriously ill children and their families.

WHEN: Saturday, June 13, 2009
WHERE: Qwest Field – Xbox Pitch, Seattle, WA
10:30 AM – Gates open for charity matches
11:00 AM – Boeing vs. Microsoft
1:00 PM – Starbucks vs. Expedia
3:30 PM – All charity match attendees and players exit Qwest
6:00 PM – Gates open for Sounders FC vs. San Jose Earthquakes (match ticket required)

The Boeing vs. Microsoft pre-Sounders matches started in 1997 and throughout the years have moved along with the USL Sounders to Renton, Seattle’s Memorial Stadium, Starfire Stadium and Qwest Field. In 2008 the Puget Sound Corporate Soccer Challenge formalized to expand the scope of the event to include more Northwest corporations and make it a philanthropic effort. In 2009, the event continues in coordination with the MLS Seattle Sounders FC.

That's the press release, but let's look a little deeper.

Chad Mack (event organizer and Microsoft employee) put together the following email.

The MSFT team is assembled in an All Star format from our company league.
· We play Fall and Spring with a Summer tournament.
· League is comprised of two divisions (Premier and First). Each of the 20 teams rosters about 25 players.
· Before I got involved and turned this into a charity event in 2008, 1 of the 20 MSFT league teams had contact with the Sounders and represented our company year over year for 9 years. I immediately made this more democratic when I joined the league board, and assembled a team that spanned multiple teams. This year, I took it even further.
· To form the corporate squad for the charity matches, each team puts forward 1 player based on skill as well as their ability to represent the company on the pitch. Our team is built to represent our company, not necessarily built to win at all costs.
· I put this format into place this year, last year the team the was hand picked by the board and assembled to win, and we smoked Boeing 6-0. We felt it more important this year to be inclusive and fair in the team formation process.
· I didn’t make the squad this year due to the new format (I played the last 2 years) – many other quality players were left off as well. Some understand, others were upset. We expect to be competitive, but it is not nearly the same skill level as we put forward last year

Starbucks sports organizer Ventura Herrera (four soccer leagues, and at least a softball one as well)

I appreciate you reaching out to me on this. Kind of a funny story, but I personally have been playing soccer (goalie) for only 3 years now. I’ve been with Starbucks 12 years and have been a part of every sports team the company offers. I now organize and play on 4 different soccer teams, and got involved with Chad and the Corporate Challenge last year. We have many partners here who are incredible players, and I’m just the player who’s actually better at organizing and getting the teams together. I guess I’m also considered to be the manager/coach of the teams, although this year I’ve been able to talk one of my players (Colleen Angeles) into coaching this Mens Corporate team. She’s way more knowledgeable on the game than I am, and has been key in organizing and getting us into shape for the upcoming match. We have a total of 16 players for the match this Saturday...

On the club is one of my old partners from the Mercer Island stores, one Adrian Mays.

I had originally reached out to all the teams for kind of a team profile, and Expedia organizer Alfred Wong replied to that request

Team: Expedia
Years Competing: We just formed the team a few weeks ago specifically for this event
Leagues participating in: none
Head Coach: Pete Davies
Highest Soccer Achievement by a Team member:
1. Member of team that won the EPYSA State Cup Championship (USYS National Championship Series)
2. Borehamwood FC Youth and Reserve Player (Ryman Football League Premier Division in England)
Typical Formation: 4-4-2
% Sounders Season Ticket Holders: only a few

So if you have extra time today to watch some more soccer, please go down to Qwest and help this great cause as four of the larger Seattle companies prove that they are Sounders, not the players on the team, but true Sounders. People of the Sound, gathering for a great cause.

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