Photo courtesy of Team LeGrand.
Sky Blue FC Hosts Houston Dash in NWSL on Lifetime Game of the Week
Tinton Falls, N.J. (May 17, 2017) – Sky Blue FC (2-2-1, 7 points) of the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) announced today that motivational speaker, philanthropist and former Rutgers University defensive tackle Eric LeGrand will serve as the team’s honorary captain this Saturday when the team welcomes the Houston Dash (2-3-0, 6 points) to Yurcak Field. Kickoff for the match, which is the NWSL on Lifetime Game of the Week, is set for 4:00 p.m., and a special halftime ceremony will be conducted to honor LeGrand.
“It is an honor to be the honorary captain for the Sky Blue FC women’s soccer team,” said LeGrand. “I have been a fan of the game for a long time, and I am proud to represent New Jersey with them.”
As mentioned, LeGrand has been a long-time supporter of Sky Blue FC and the game of women’s soccer. Throughout the years, he has been a regular attendant at Sky Blue FC home matches, and the team will be reciprocating that support at his 7th Annual A Walk to Believe 5K Run and Fun Walk on Sunday, June 4, which will take place at High Point Solutions Stadium at Rutgers University.
“We are very proud to have such a supportive relationship with Eric LeGrand and his foundation,” said Christy Holly, Sky Blue FC head coach. “As we aspire to become a strong representative of New Jersey, Eric LeGrand exemplifies everything that makes people from New Jersey proud to call this state home.”
A native of Avenel, N.J., LeGrand attended Rutgers University, where his hard-nosed grit and determined attitude made him a multi-faceted player for the Scarlet Knights. His team-first demeanor was very emblematic in his continuance to play on special teams even after he became a starter at defensive tackle. On Oct. 16, 2010, LeGrand was running downfield on the kickoff team like he had done so many times before. Also as he had done so many times before, he reached the ball carrier, but this time the collision rendered him motionless on the field.
After being rushed to the hospital, LeGrand learned that he had suffered a spinal cord injury, and he was paralyzed from the neck down. Told that he would never breathe again without the help of a respirator, and certainly never walk again, the true warrior inside LeGrand took form. By January of 2011, he was already breathing completely on his own, and he had also regained movement in his shoulders and sensation throughout his body. Aggressively pushing through his physical rehabilitation, he vowed to walk again and has since developed numerous philanthropic initiatives to raise funds for spinal cord injury research.
Professionally, LeGrand has stayed close to football by working as a broadcaster, and he achieved his National Football League (NFL) dream when former Rutgers University and then Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano signed him to the final roster spot with the Bucs in 2012. Additionally, he has also received high accolades in many other venues, such as his no. 52 being retired by Rutgers University, receiving the Jimmy V Award at the 2012 ESPYs and being inducted into the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) Hall of Fame as a recipient of their Warrior Award.
“Without question, Eric LeGrand is one of the most amazing human beings you will ever meet,” said Tony Novo, Sky Blue FC President & General Manager. “His strength and perseverance serves as inspiration to so many, and the attitude in which he tackles his everyday life is nothing short of incredible. We are proud to have Eric as our honorary captain this weekend, and we strongly encourage everyone to then join his fight with us on June 4 at A Walk to Believe.”
Team LeGrand of the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation was established in 2013, with proceeds going towards research to find a cure for paralysis and helping to improve the quality of life for people with spinal cord injuries. To find out more about the foundation, visit them online: TeamLeGrand.org
Tickets for Saturday’s match-up against the Houston Dash are available now online or by calling 888-SBFC-TIX (888-723-2849).
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