Celebrity Soccer: Mia Hamm, Nomar Garciaparra, Tony Hawk, Ryan Sheckler, Jimmy Jean-Louis
Saturday afternoon I hit up the Mia Hamm-Nomar Garciaparra Celebrity Soccer event at the (beautiful) Home Depot center in Los Angeles. This is the second year Mia’s held the event to raise money for the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and the Mia Hamm Foundation- while also encouraging fans to sign up as bone-marrow donors. Last year, the event saved at least one life after they found a donor…during halftime, there were a few tears shed as donors were introduced to recipients…seriously, I even noticed a few celeb’s with wet eyes.
Partial roster of do-gooders kicking it for Hamm: Andrea Bowen (Desperate Housewives), C. Thomas Howell, Josh Hutcherson, Mark Consuelos (All My Children), Jimmy Jean-Louis (Heroes), Angus Jones (Two and a Half Men), James Leisure (Lipstick Jungle/Las Vegas), Josh Henderson (90210), Good Charlotte’s Benji Madden, skate-gods Tony Hawk and Ryan Sheckler, and several of Hamm’s teammates from the U.S. National Team including Brandi Chastain, Kristine Lilly, Joy Fawcett, Tisha Hoch, Abby Wambach and current and former male soccer hotties Cobi Jones, Chris Seitz, Matt Reis, Brian Dunseth and Alexi Lalas.
Love for each and every celebrity who kicked it under the hot sun for Mia’s Foundation and in support of a great cause. Hamm spoke before the event about her motivation: “My foundation started about 1999 and was motivated from my relationship with my brother who passed away in 1997 after complications from a bone-marrow transplant,” she said prior to the game. “For us, we shared a love of sport and I also saw first hand what my parents and his parents had to go through, not just financially, but struggling to find a bone-marrow match, so my foundation-the proceeds go to help families find bone-marrow transplants and also to encourage and empower young female athletes.”
Aside from Nomar and Mia, I’m giving extra love to a few celebrities who I noticed go above and beyond during the day. First time participant, actress Andrea Bowen…girl never stopped smiling or signing autographs for the young fans: “This is my first game and I’m pretty excited that I get to play with all these people. They’re definitely going to have to pull extra weight because I really don’t know what I’m doing but it should be fun and its all for a really good cause”
Next up, Ryan Sheckler, who was simply hoping for a goal. ‘This is actually the first time I’ve ever played soccer. It feels great, it’s going to be a great day. Hopefully I make a goal, my goal is to make a goal today, just one and I’ll go home happy.” Going home happy were the hundreds of prepubescent girls who squealed with delight each time Sheckler inhaled. Proving that you can be young, rich, arrogant and humble at the same time-Sheckler took about 20-minutes to sign autographs while others were on the field warming up.
Tony Hawk-aka Ryan Sheckler in 20-years- also impressed the hell outta me. Hawk went out of his way to sign autographs for a group of screaming fans desperate to meet their hero. I’ve been to a lot of events, and not every celebrity who appears takes extra steps to ensure everyone leaves happy…Hawk is definitely an exception.
Perhaps the happiest participant was Heroes star Jimmy Jean-Louis. Now, don’t kill me kids but I don’t watch the show, so I wasn’t really hip to the Haitian. What I was hip to were his dimples, “It is a beautiful day today and we are going to have a great time.” Indeed. Jean-Louis is one of the busiest celebrity charity advocates I’ve met in a while. He is a member of the celebrity soccer team Hollywood United, which plays tons of charity events, and as a spin off to it, dimples founded his own organization to help the people of Haiti. “I started my own organization Hollywood Unites for Haiti. What I’ve been doing is collecting all the used equipment and going to Haiti to give it to them because they really need this-that’s really how the whole idea of Hollywood Unites for Haiti started. About a month ago, some of us were invited to Haiti-including Josh Brolin and Diane Lane and that was for the opening of a hospital for handicapped, so that was nice and I plan to bring more awareness to Haiti because they really need help.” Since I don’t watch his show and I’ve seen his soccer skills in action- Jimmy Jean-Louis (for purposes of this site) is now classified as an athlete. Much, much, more info about him and his organization to come.
And finally, what was Benji Madden (Good Charlotte) doing with this baby to make it cry? Feeding it a nectarine? Benji ran off the field, took the kid in his arms, baby instantly began crying and then he’s holding a piece of fruit up to it…kinda funny, don’t know if it’s his baby or not because I’m not into celebrity gossip but thought some of you may get a kick out of it.
Here’s a link to most of my photos…Mia Hamm & Nomar Garciaparra Celebrity Soccer Challenge. Enjoy. And next year, might I suggest you cough up the $20 bucks to be there yourself?
As always, thanks for reading. Delinda@athlebrities.com