Soccer ‘legends’ back in action for halfway house

Former soccer stars, politicians and public figures will lace up their boots once again on Monday for the final match in a series of charity soccer games to raise money for a West Bay halfway house.

The “championship game” pits George Town veterans XI against their West Bay counterparts.

Deputy Governor Franz Manderson, octogenarian Ivan Farrington, George Town MLA Joey Hew and Brent Hydes, who runs the Hope for Today Foundation’s halfway house, will be among those suiting up for the game.

Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. at the Ed Bush Stadium in West Bay. A social event and activities for kids start at 4:30 p.m.

The event, dubbed the Championship of Clash of the Legends, pits the two most successful teams from a series of matches last year against each other for the Marcus Cumber Community Cup, named in honor of one of the key sponsors.

West Bay will be looking for a measure of revenge after having lost twice to their George Town rivals last year.

Mr. Hydes said it would be a different story this time.

“The guys from West Bay are pumped and ready to rip,” he said.

The championship game is the final match in the clash of the legends series, started by Mr. Hydes to raise money for the facility and to raise awareness of substance abuse issues.

He said all of the games had been well supported and he expects Monday’s games to be no different.

“Our motivation is to engage the community and lift the negative stigma around substance abuse,” he added.

“We want people to open their eyes and recognize that there are people in this community suffering with substance abuse and we can’t turn a blind eye to it. As goes substance abuse, there goes crime. When you look at the cost of running the halfway house compared to locking people up in prison, it makes sense to try to support us.”

Government last year committed $10,000 annually to support the halfway house as part of a “purchase agreement” of services from the facility, which provides a substance-free home environment and support for recovering addicts as they transition to society, often after lengthy prison sentences. The rest of the foundation’s operations are financed through corporate sponsors, donations and its own fundraising.

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