Soccer Stars Give Newtown Kids Something To Smile About

NEWTOWN

"Word kind of trickled out on social media that it was happening," Canetti said. "One thing led to another that led to another. Alexi Lalas called me, Mia Hamm, Kristine Lilly, they said they wanted to help. We said come on down."

MLS Commissioner Don Garber called and said he wanted the league to help. The ball was rolling big time now. Players from all the MLS teams volunteered.

"We never imagined it growing this big," Canetti said. "I wish we could have been even bigger."

The facility wasn't large enough to handle more. There are fire codes, etc. Organizers even had to turn some players and residents away. The registration number was capped.

"We've made a commitment to come back," Canetti said. "We're not one and done. We want to do something again in the spring when the snow is melted."

There is something both sad and moving that Tracy was only three miles away from Sandy Hook Elementary when a madman walked into the school and destroyed such precious innocence. Tracy did not attend Sandy Hook as a youngster, but his mom had taught there. He was visiting his family during the MLS offseason.

"I had just come downstairs and was in the kitchen cooking breakfast," Tracy, 26, said. "My mom said there was a shooting in Newtown. Immediately I went over to the couch and started to follow what was going on on CNN. There was shock. There was disbelief.

"It has been emotional. I looked at some of these kids who are the same age as the victims in the tragedy. It's still shocking. It's unbelievable when you stop and think about it."

Tracy, who went to Hawley School in Newtown, went on to become the 2004 Courant state player of the year from Newtown High. At Wake Forest, he played on the NCAA champions. He won the Hermann Trophy as the NCAA's best performer.

"Marcus was the clear-cut No. 1 pick out of college in 2008," Canetti said. "The word on the street was don't draft him because he's going to play in Europe. So nobody did. We had just won the championship in 2007. So we took the best player in the draft with the last pick in the last round. He went to Europe and we lost his rights.

"When we started this, it's ironic, I didn't even know Marcus was from Newtown," Canetti said.

He does now.

"When they contacted me," Tracy said, "I had to be here. I had to show my face. I had to show my support. I just want the kids to have fun and be kids. A lot of them do look up to us as role models. And to spend some time with them and let them have fun, I think, is a perfect way to help."

Tracy decided he would try to help in another way. Even back in a Courant story in 2004, he said he and his brother Ryan, who played at Penn, and his friends like to produce music. Nine years later, they would do so in a most poignant way. Wanting to paint the hometown he loves in a positive light and to help the healing, they came together after the tragedy.

"It's brilliant," Canetti said. "They did it all. They wrote the song. Someone played guitar. Someone rapped. They brought in some vocals. They mixed it. They laid the track. They did a music video, too, which includes news clips. It's ridiculously good."

The song is on YouTube.

It's called, "We'll Be Alright."

And Newtown will be.

The Dynamo will help raise money for the United Way's Sandy Hook School Support Fund with an online auction. For more information, visit HoustonDynamo.com/NewtownAuction.

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