Watch soccer, support hurricane relief

Phanuel Kavita of D.R. Congo Jordi Quintillà Ramón Soria Alonso

The Pitch Bitch (aka Rebecca Townsend) welcoming Puerto Rico FC players to Indianapolis ahead of their Oct. 4 match against Indy Eleven, which kicks off at 7 p.m. at Michael Carroll Stadium in Downtown Indianapolis. (From Left: defender Phanuel Kavita of D.R. Congo, attacking midfielder Jordi Quintillà of Spain, Rebecca Townsend and Ramón Soria Alonso, also of Spain. Attendees at the match will have plenty of opportunity to contribute to hurricane relief — and show their support in person as the Puerto Rican team takes to the field.

INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana has a chance to show Puerto Rico that Hoosiers are in solid support of hurricane relief by packing Michael Carroll Stadium at 7 p.m. Wednesday night, Oct. 4, Downtown Indianapolis, when Puerto Rico FC and Indy Eleven face off.

Indy will be passing the bucket — and driving web traffic — to Puerto Rico FC owner Carmelo Anthony‘s hurricane relief fund. In a piece published in the Players’ Tribune, Anthony makes a straight-forward, heartfelt pitch for major assistance — and makes a contribution of his own to get things started:

“The entire island is dark. But even if we can’t hear it, there’s more than 3 million people down there calling out for help. Imagine your house being powerless for just one hour. Just one day. Just one week. Imagine the young kids you have in your life — your son, your daughter, your nephew, your granddaughter — imagine them being scared and hungry for just one day.

“Puerto Ricans are facing the possibility of six months of that kind of struggle. I think about my own family in that situation and I can’t even wrap my mind around it. I can’t grasp it. I know there’s so many different things going on in America and in the world right now that need our attention, but damn … I need your help. I need the help of anybody reading this. We have to help the people of Puerto Rico get the supplies they need to survive day-to-day until their country can be built up again.

“I’ve set up a YouCaring donation page to aid the relief efforts. Any help you can give will get directly into the hands of those who need it — you have my word. I’ve been doing community work on the island for the past 10 years, but this is another level. I’m starting with an immediate $50,000 donation, but I need your help in this fight.”

The night before the match, Indy Eleven hosted a dinner in honor of the visiting team and to help draw attention to relief efforts.

“We’re chatting about their day-to-day situation, their worries with their families,” Indy Eleven captain Colin Falvey said of his discussions with players and team officials. “Right now they’re in a bad, bad situation. For me, the futbol will take care of itself tomorrow night: tonight we’re all about embracing them into our city and showing the support of our club.”

Falvey added that he expects Wednesday’s match “to be a high-tempo, intense fight between two very good teams,” noting that since a coaching change at Puerto Rico he sees their team as “playing a different style of futbol, a more attractive style.”

Local soccer blogger and fan extraordinaire Nipun Chopra, PhD, has been at the forefront of local hurricane relief efforts aimed specifically at helping members of the Puerto Rico FC family effected by the storm. With the help of 133 people over the past 12 days, Chopra’s GoFundMe campaign has, to date, collected $15,923 of the fund’s stated $20,000 goal.

“Tomorrow night we continue our fundraising efforts for Carmelo Anthony’s hurricane relief fund,” said Indy Eleven’s media liaison Scott Stewart, encouraging people to come out to the game. In addition to the online donation options, he added, “There will be a bucket brigade.”

For more information on Puerto Rican relief efforts — and tickets for the Puerto Rico FC/Indy Eleven matchup — can be found at

For more insight into the level of devastation the people of Puerto Rico — and many other Caribbean islands are facing post-Maria, as well — check out this slideshow from NBC news:


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