The Hartford Athletic will host the Puerto Rico national team for a friendly on Saturday and a portion of the ticket sales will go to benefit the San Juan Center in Hartford.
“This game between the national soccer team of Puerto Rico and the Hartford club is a historical event,” Executive Director of the San Juan Center Fernando Betancourt said.
The funds will help families affected by Hurricane Maria and Hurricane Irma. The Athletic are thrilled to have the opportunity to give back to the community.
“In our first season, we’ve had a lot of milestones, this is certainly another one to bring in the Puerto Rican national team and celebrate Puerto Rican pride and culture which is such a big part of our community is really important to us,” Athletic Vice President of Marketing Joe Calafiore said.
“I’m just happy that I can give back to a country, an island that has given me so much and has a lot to do with who I am through something I know so well,” Puerto Rico national team member Jacob Conde said.
Conde is a Hartford native who played soccer at Bloomfield High School.
“I don’t believe in coincidences,” Conde said. “I think coming through that tunnel or whenever I get on the field, it will finally hit me, being able to play in front of friends and family.”
Conde’s family was affected by Hurricane Maria and Hurricane Irma.
“My mom and grandparents, they’re back there now, we probably went about a week before we even heard from them and I remember my mom trying to call me from the side of the highway,” Conde said.
With that in mind, these fundraising efforts make this match even more special.
“I’ve trained my whole life for soccer and now I can help raise money to give something bigger than me, bigger than these two teams,” Conde added.