Ironmen Are First Professional Team to Host GRSU Commemorative Game
Ethan Zohn has twice served as an honorary captain for the Ironmen (Photo by Rich Graessle)
Newark, N.J. (Wednesday, March 11, 2009) – In continuance of their healthy relationship with philanthropist Ethan Zohn and his foundation for AIDS awareness in Africa, Grassroot Soccer (GRS), the New Jersey Ironmen announce today that they will be conducting a GRS United Commemorative Game when they host the Milwaukee Wave on Sunday, March 22nd, at Prudential Center. The Ironmen will be wearing the GRS logo on one-of-a-kind green jerseys in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, and they will be sold through a silent auction the day of the game with the proceeds going to GRS.
“This will be an exciting day for everyone involved,” GRS co-founder Ethan Zohn commented. “Not only will fans see some great soccer, they will also have the chance to get a limited edition Grassroot Soccer/New Jersey Ironmen jersey that will help save lives in Africa.”
The Ironmen are the first professional team to host a GRS United Commemorative Game when they kick off at 1:00 p.m. on March 22nd. Last fall, Brown University and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee both hosted games in which they wore the GRS logo and raised proceeds for the foundation. Since their inception in 2007, the Ironmen have maintained a consistent relationship with Zohn and GRS.
“We continue to have a high level of excitement for Grassroot Soccer being aligned with the New Jersey Ironmen,” Zohn said. “Not only are we friends and great business partners, but we have been able to help in saving the lives of those affected in Africa.”
Zohn has twice served as honorary captain for the Ironmen, and the team also participated in his 550-mile GRS United Dribble that started in Foxboro and concluded in Washington, DC, for World AIDS Day last December. For over a three month span, Zohn and supporters literally dribbled a soccer ball for a 550-mile journey to raise funds and awareness for GRS. After tearing his ACL and meniscus playing in a charity soccer game halfway through his trek, Zohn leaned on people such as Ironmen Head Coach Omid Namazi, Assistant Coach/midfielder Goran Vasic, Goalkeeper Coach Sal Rosamilia and forward Adauto Neto to log a few miles with him cheering them on every inch of the way. The Ironmen worked with the City to close the streets in downtown Newark and knocked a ball around with South Ward Councilman Oscar James and kids from the community for a leg of the 550-mile mission.
“It is so important to recognize the people that took the time to support something I am so passionate about,” Zohn remarked about his successful journey. “It is truly a testament to our organization and to the power of soccer.”
After receiving the million-dollar prize for winning Survivor-Africa in 2001, Zohn did the opposite of what drives most people to reality television. He took his winnings and co-founded Grass Root Soccer, a non-profit organization that focuses on worldwide HIV/AIDS prevention and awareness. In Africa professional soccer players are viewed as heroes within their communities, and GRS begins their approach with them. They first train those athletes about HIV/AIDS, and then those players go into the schools in Africa to teach the youth about the lethal disease.
Originally from Lexington, Massachusetts, Zohn has been a true philanthropist in all aspects of his life. In addition to GRS, he has served as a spokesperson for America Scores, an organization that assists urban children in educational soccer programs. His charitable work has also extended into other programs such as Kick AIDS, the Elizabeth Glazer Pediatric Aids organization, YouthAids and the Colon Cancer Alliance.
Zohn was honored as the 2004 Nkosi Johnson Community Spirit Award by the International Association of Physicians in AIDS Care, and he was awarded with the ‘Heroes Among Us’ award by the Boston Celtics and the Massachusetts State Department. He also received the Auxilia Chimuroso award by the U.S. State Department in Zimbabwe.
Aside from his philanthropic work, Zohn has deep soccer roots. He played goalkeeper at Vassar College in New York while acquiring his degree in Biology. He went on to play professionally for the Hawaii Tsunami and the Cape Cod Crusaders of the USL as well as in Zimbabwe for the Highlanders Football Club. He also competed with the U.S. National Maccabiah Team in Israel in both 1997 and 2001.
Zohn spent 1998-2002 as an assistant coach for the Fairleigh Dickinson University men’s and women’s soccer teams. In 2005 he began to co-host the Metro Soccer Report (renamed MSG Soccer Report) on the MSG Network, a weekly show dedicated to the New York Red Bulls. Beginning in April 2006, he started hosting FC Fox on the Fox Soccer Channel.
For more information about Grass Root Soccer, visit them on the web at http://www.grassrootsoccer.org/.
When 13,249 fans welcomed the legendary Pelé to Prudential Center at their first home contest in team history on December 1, 2007, the New Jersey Ironmen established their honorary captain program. The Ironmen have since built on their honorary captain program by having such stars as Zohn, former U.S. National Team midfielder Tab Ramos, former MLS offensive juggernaut Giovanni Savarese, former IBF Junior Welterweight Champion Paulie “The Magic Man” Malignaggi, former Cosmo midfielder Vladislav Bogicevic and former NASL/MISL goalkeeper Shep Messing being among their previously honorees. Former Cosmo Captain Werner Roth will be honored on Sunday, March 22nd, five-time MLS Cup Champion Jeff Agoos will serve as honorary captain on Friday, March 27th, and Super Bowl Champion George Martin will be honorary captain on Saturday, April 4th.