The curtain has closed on the 6th annual Congressional Soccer Match, where individuals from different countries and both sides of the aisle came together to support a worthy cause. The event-filled evening, presented by Nike, took place on May 22nd at Gonzaga College High School in Washington, D.C.
To kick off the night, players representing 16 embassies took the pitch for the Embassy Tournament in a mini-World Cup style format. Eager to represent their countries ahead of the summer’s World Cup, participating embassies included Argentina, Azerbaijan, Chile, China, Denmark, the European Union, Georgia, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, South Africa, Spain, Turkey, and the U.S. State Department. The start of the tournament was delayed by weather, but that didn’t stop Georgia, who was named the champion of the Embassy Tournament.
For the main event, the Republicans and Democrats took the field with select corporate sponsors and former professional athletes. Participants included:
- Rep. Don Bacon (NE-02)
- Rep. Jack Bergman (MI-01)
- Rep. Mike Bishop (MI-08)
- Rep. Kathy Castor (FL-14)
- Eric Delaney, House Committee on Rules
- Rep. Ruben Kihuen (NV-04)
- Rep. Darin LaHood (IL-18)
- Rep. Rick Larsen (WA-02)
- Katie Patru, Committee on House Administration
- Rep. Erik Paulsen (MN-03)
- Ambassador Arturo Sarukhan
- Rep. Norma Torres (CA-35)
- Rep. David Valadao (CA-21)
- Senator Todd Young (IN)
Match participants also included representatives from the offices of Rep. Brady (PA-01), Rep. Castor (FL-14), Rep. Conaway (TX-11), Rep. John Curtis (UT-03), Senator Durbin (IL), Rep. Kihuen (NV-04), Rep. LaHood (IL-18), Rep. McCaul (TX-10), Rep. McKinley (WV-01), Rep. Plaskett (USVI), Rep. Thornberry (TX-13), Rep. Tonko (NY-20), Rep. Torres (CA-35), and Rep. Valadao (CA-21).
The Match attracted a handful of former professional athletes, including:
- Colin Cloherty
- Jim Gabarra
- Clarence Goodson
- John Harkes
- Carin Jennings-Gabarra
- Cobi Jones
- Amir Lowery
- Roger “Rocky” McIntosh
- Devon McTavish
- Jaime Moreno
- Santino Quaranta
- Robbie Russell
- Juergen Sommer
- R.J. Stanford
- Saskia Webber
- Cat Whitehill
- Staci Wilson
- Katie Yensen
Attendees cheered for their teams from the Fan Zone, which featured a global beer garden from ABInBev and other experiences, such as autograph signings from D.C. United and Washington Spirit players and cornhole from DC Fray.
The Democrats took the early lead with two goals from Representative Kihuen, which set the tone for the rest of the first half. The Democrats tallied a third goal, but the Republicans scored twice to bring the score to 3-2 before halftime.
During halftime, local DC SCORES Soccer for Success participants took the pitch for a scrimmage, coached by D.C. United and Washington Spirit players. The halftime show also featured the King/Queen of the Hill Penalty Kick Shootout sponsored by The Hill. Melissa Enriquez of the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources took home the crown.
The Republicans came in with a renewed strength for the second half of the Match, but the Democrats held their defensive shape.
Goals from Miguel Salazar (Office of Rep. Kihuen), Cobi Jones, and Jim Gabarra brought the tally up to five goals for the Democrats. The Republicans had goals from Clarence Goodson, Thomas Hester (Office of Rep. McCaul), Amir Lowery, and Santino Quaranta, but the Republicans fell just short, with a final score of 5-4.
The night wrapped up with the Staffer Tournament, where Hill staffers and federal employees competed in a friendly round-robin competition.
All proceeds from the event support the Foundation’s sports-based youth development programs serving youth in underserved communities in an effort to make soccer #EveryonesGame. To learn more about how you can get involved, visit itseveryonesgame.org.
Thank you to our sponsors for their support of our work and the 2018 Congressional Soccer Match: