Portland Thorns, Timbers and Timbers 2 players lent a helping hand Thursday during a volunteer event for “Stand Together Week”.
The players have been teaming up and volunteering all over the Portland area.
They stopped in Gresham's Rockwood neighborhood Thursday to work in a community garden at Vance Park.
The garden is next to a futsal court that is used by kids every day. People who live near the court say tidying up the space will help them continue to enjoy it, too.
The players, along with Timber Joey and several volunteers, pulled weeds and dug through the dirt, among other tasks.
After the work, Jeff Attinella and Samuel Armentoeros of the Timbers, as well as Lamar Batista and Andrew Lewis of T2, showed off their soccer skills on the futsal court.
“The weeding was a little tough,” Attinella said.
Kids with Active Children Portland, a non-profit organization, are among those who use this court after school.
People with the program say the court helps keep the kids out of trouble, while keeping them active, too.
‘There’s a lot of need for this type of court in this community,” Luis Rodriquez, program manager for Active Children Portland, said. “If we didn’t have this, they would just go the other way, right? They would go to crimes, gangs, whatever you want to call it.”
Rodriquez says when he was a kid, he also played soccer.
“Once upon a time, I was also ten years old,” Rodriquez said. “We got swept away by this and we all went to the court and started playing some soccer, and if I look back now, I’m very thankful for having that opportunity.”
Rodriquez says the court is one of the organization's 28 sites in the region. With free after-school programs, it relies on volunteers, he says, like the ones that helped Thursday.
The players said they were happy to help.
“At the end of the day, we play soccer for a living, but we are approachable,” Attinella said. “We’re just like everybody else. We’re just people that happen to play soccer.”
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