FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Energized by the hometown crowd at Gillette Stadium, Chris Tierney scored his first MLS goal in last weekend’s victory over Seattle Sounders FC. Now he and his New England Revolution teammates need the help of the Foxborough faithful to reach an even bigger goal.
Tierney is the Revolution’s player spokesperson for the league-wide Pepsi Refresh Project competition, in which the Revs are competing against the other 15 MLS teams for a $50,000 grant to better the teams’ greater communities. The competition is decided by fan voting, which runs through Monday, Sept. 20 at 11:59 p.m. ET. Fans can vote up to 25 times per day at MLSsoccer.com/PepsiRefresh.
Should the Revs win the Pepsi Refresh grant, the team will provide free CPR and AED training to approximately 500 youth soccer coaches throughout New England through the American Heart Association. Additionally, the coaches will receive at-home training and practice units for their teams and leagues.
“We’ve had a relationship with the American Heart Association for a couple of years through work that some of our players have done on their own, and we wanted to find a way to get more involved and do something to make our relationship worthwhile to our fans,” said Director of Communications Lizz Summers, who also oversees the New England Revolution Charitable Foundation and the team’s community initiatives. “The American Heart Association has a very strong CPR and AED educational curriculum and we thought it was a great match to have a program where we could involve the youth soccer communities and make a difference in the greater community at the same time.”
The cause hits close to home with Tierney, who has firsthand experience to reinforce the importance of CPR and AED training for youth coaches. Tierney played high school soccer for Noble and Greenough School of the Independent School League, and an athlete from another school within the league passed away as the result of a heart attack on the field.
“Had there been that sort of training in place, it’s something that could’ve been prevented,” said Tierney. “The chances are few and far between that something does happen, but it’s important. It saves lives and it’s important that coaches and staff are ready to deal with it if it does arise.”
Tierney was also drawn to the uniqueness of the Revolution’s Pepsi Refresh idea, which is unlike any of the other proposals around the league. While other clubs submitted plans to build soccer fields and provide free clinics, the Revs went off the beaten path with their campaign.
With that said, all 16 Pepsi Refresh ideas would better the community and there will be no losers in this competition no matter who is ultimately awarded the $50,000 grant. According to Tierney, any impact the league can have will be beneficial.
“For anyone to be a spokesperson, it’s important,” he said. “Whatever we can do as pros to use our position as public figures to better – whether it’s your local community or whatever you want to do around the world – it’s always important. It can only be a good thing.”
Of course, Tierney would love for the Revolution to win the $50,000 grant, especially since he and his teammates – many of whom are youth soccer coaches themselves – would be a major part of the CPR and AED training process.
“Besides Chris, who has helped us spread the word about this contest, we’ll have our players who are coaching at the youth level, as well as our coaches, both first team and youth, involved in the training, too,” said Summers. “We think it’s just as important for our folks to learn CPR since they’re also out in the local soccer community regularly, too. You can’t predict when an incident could occur, so it’s better to have as many people prepared to help as possible.”
While winning the Pepsi Refresh Project’s $50,000 grant would be an ideal method for the Revolution and the American Heart Association to provide CPR and AED training to local youth coaches, the Revs are hopeful their idea can move forward even if they don’t win the competition.
“If we don’t win, CPR certification is certainly a program that we’d like to find a way to incorporate into some of our group benefits packages, especially for the youth soccer organizations,” said Summers. “There are limitations right now, but hopefully we’ll generate enough excitement through the Pepsi Refresh Project that we can find a way to work with the American Heart Association to offer the training to our partners so we can make our soccer fields safer for all of our fans and families.”
The Pepsi Refresh Project contest runs through Monday, Sept. 20 at 11:59 p.m. ET. Fans can cast up to 25 votes per day at MLSsoccer.com/PepsiRefresh.