In a world where charity campaigns are common, covering a variety of causes, there is one that sticks out for doing things differently. Austin Da Luz is a midfielder for North Carolina FC in the NASL, and he started a charity program this season to benefit the Human Rights Campaign. While he encourages fans to donate to the cause, that isn’t the basis for how he is raising money.
Instead Da Luz is recruiting fellow players from across the US and asking them to chip in money for every game they play in, start, for every goal scored or assist tallied.
As he explains on the charity’s website: “Here’s the donation breakdown: $2 per game played, $3 per game started, $4 per assist, and $5 per goal. We donate, you match us. Easy enough, right?”
So far he has raised over $3,600 towards his posted goal of $10,000 for the season.
To help spread the word, Da Luz has recruited fellow players in all four of the major soccer leagues in the United States. So far in the NASL, he has recruited several players on his team, as well as a familiar name for Dynamo fans: Danny Cruz of the San Francisco Deltas. It’s been a while since he played for Houston and wonderful to know that he is still playing the sport he so enjoys, and that he’s taking part in a great charity program.
In the USL, Da Luz has recruited players from FC Cincinnati (a club that is doing amazing things in preparation for a possible move to MLS), Didier Drogba’s Phoenix Rising, Louisville City and Sacramento Republic.
The NWSL is well represented with players from the Washington Spirit, newly reminted North Carolina Courage (including USWNT players Sam Mewis and Lynn Williams) and the Chicago Red Stars.
All told Da Luz has, to date, recruited 28 players to participate in this charity program, with countless fans matching their favorite athletes’ totals, or just chipping in a few bucks of their own.
This particular charity program is genius in that it brings fans and players together in a unique way that mirrors fantasy sports. Whether he quite realized it at the time, this will have an added benefit it getting supporters to spread the word very quickly to their friends and soccer lovers. The modest amount he is asking makes it all the more enjoyable as fans gather around the TV to see if their player gets onto the field for their club. Goals are now all the sweeter for the charitable contributions they create. Things could get very addicting and fun very fast.
If you wish to donate towards the charity by matching an athlete, here is how each league can be followed:
Major League Soccer – Fox, ESPN, UniMas, TSN
Da Luz was recently interviewed on Dummy(partner podcast of The Mixxed Zone, hosted by Keeper Notes’ Jen Cooper)by George Quraishi, editor of the famous Howler Magazine. It’s a great conversation (starts around the 30:00 mark) that provides more detail and context for the charity.
If you wish to donate to the charity, or match a player’s accomplishments, just head over to Playing for Pride’s website.