Week-in and week-out, MLS teams across the U.S. and Canada go head-to-head over a 34-match schedule. Things get heated between the on-field combatants and sometimes between the most fervent supporters, whose rallying cries offer support to their own clubs and occasional putdowns of the opposition and their supporters.
This weekend, it was reinforced that when the final whistle blows and the competition ends, bygones can not only still be bygones, but comrades.
Real Salt Lake supporter Ryan Terry had a recent medical emergency that left him in the intensive care unit at a local Salt Lake City hospital. On Friday, fellow RSL supporter Hiba Issa set up a GoFundMe.com page to help Terry and his family pay the daunting medical expenses that would accrue during his stay and recovery with the goal of raising $10,000.
RSL broadcaster and one of the league’s most vocal ambassadors Brian Dunseth took to the cause and through his social media platforms on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook began spreading the word. With his massive reach and effort, word traveled quickly and soon thereafter, players, coaches, broadcasters and legends from the game took notice. Within hours, Seattle Sounders FC’s Brad Evans, Toronto FC’s Jozy Altidore, New York Red Bulls goalkeeper Luis Robles and U.S. National Team and MLS legend Landon Donovan had all donated and by the time 24 hours had passed, the $10,000 was already reached.
Former RSL players Jason Kreis, Nat Borchers, Will Johnson, Ian Joy, Rauwshan McKenzie and Yura Movsisyan have contributed. As have current players Aaron Maund, Jordan Allen, Javier Morales, Nick Rimando and Tony Beltran, along with Head Coach Jeff Cassar and radio play-by-play voice Bill Riley.
In addition, broadcaster Janusz Michallik, Kevin Egan, Brad Feldman and Grant Wahl have backed the fundraiser, as have supporters from Seattle, Portland, LA, Kansas City and other stops in between.
"Once the whistle blows, you can be enemies. But as soon as the game is over, you go back to being friends," Dunseth told KSL.com. "This singlehandedly proves to me what an incredible community that we are operating in.”