An experience of a lifetime, members of the Los Angeles City Fire Department and their families meeting their soccer heroes on the field! The LA Galaxy players and the LAFD combine forces to raise money for the Widows, Orphans & Disabled Firefighter’s Fund. The excitement building before a huge match as firefighters, fireworks, the L.A. Riot Squad, and celebrity mascot Cozmo hit the field. Watch as our cameras catch Galaxy fever as the team honors our brave firefighters for risking their lives to save yours.
A once in a lifetime chance: LA Galaxy honors LAFD firefighters
The LA Galaxy not only partnered with our L.A. firefighter charity to raise money and awareness of the cause, but also went the extra mile to give our valiant first responders a memorable evening. Very few people get the chance to be part of the opening ceremonies or take the field at a professional soccer match, so the team invited 5 LAFD firefighters to be honored in a special way.
“We got to walk out there, be on the field with Cozmo…there for the national anthem. We had fireworks blowing up next to us, one of the coolest experiences I’ve ever done,” says LAFD Captain II Craig Kuykendall who was one of several LAFD firefighters to hit the field. He adds, “Oh, it was super cool. Someone handed me, not a banner, but a scarf, and so I had the scarf around my neck. We were cheering with the riot squad up in the corner and they were beating their drums. It was very cool. The energy and the excitement was incredible.”
LA Galaxy on-field experience for LAFD families
Not only was it exciting for the fans to watch the LA Galaxy beat the Philadelphia Union 3-1 on Saturday, July 8, 2023, it was even more exciting for some of the LAFD families to enjoy a unique on-field experience. LAFD Firefighter Asley Amezquita had a surprise opportunity of a lifetime with his family.
“So, I decided to buy the discounted tickets from the (Los Angeles Firemen’s) Relief Association for five other family members and myself. And then the following day I got a call saying that I was selected to receive the on-field experience. I was super excited when I got the call. I actually kept it from my family. I wanted to make it a surprise. So, once we started going down to the tunnel, everyone was ecstatic. Everyone’s super excited and motivated. We love LA Galaxy. This is where we’re from, from Los Angeles. So, to be able to be part and share something like that, it was amazing. Amazing.”
LA Galaxy autograph team jersey and autograph firefighter helmet
LA Galaxy Youth Soccer Groups Account Executive Michael DeMarco says the teams support for the firefighters is obvious. “We had a good amount of every single ticket sold to this that got donated to the charity…on top of that, the Galaxy has donated a few items that will be able to go up for auction. We have a signed fireman’s helmet; we have signed team jerseys.”
The jersey and other fun items, such as LAFD hero bears, mugs, shirts, rally towels and more were up for grabs for those who stopped by and spun the prize wheel at our charity’s booth in the popular SoccerFest area of Dignity Health Sports Park. The team autographed firefighter helmet with a custom shield is creating excitement for our charity’s 2023 Salute to Firefighters online auction.
As for what firefighters and their families mean to the community, he says, “It’s not just the firefighters who have to make the sacrifices. It’s their spouses, it’s their children. They’re risking their lives on a daily basis to help support the community. And it’s only right that we support them as well.”
By Charles Stewart