After watching Carolina’s NCAA campaign end with a heartbreaking loss to the eventual champions Indiana, UNC soccer fans might be forgiven for wanting to take a rest and put their shredded nerves back together. But luckily for those with the fortitude to get back into the passion, the game never stops, and the Tar Heels will be back in action for friendlies this spring. Today saw the release of the spring schedule. They’ll play a typical slate against collegiate teams in state and against the USL’s Carolina Railhawks, but they’ll play an additional friendly against MLS’s Columbus Crew. Fans may find that name familiar- it’s Kirk Urso’s former team.
The Carolina teams will give the Heels the chance to stay in form and keep in good touch with one another, but the Crew match serves an entirely different purpose. The match is to be a fundraiser for the Kirk Urso Memorial Fund, a venture created by the Crew in conjunction with the Children’s Heart Foundation to sponsor youth heart health research. Kirk died from a congenital heart condition which was missed by even the MLS’s draft screening. All proceeds from the $10 presale and $15 gameday tickets will go to the fund. The match will be played February the 14th at Macpherson Stadium in Browns Summit, North Carolina.
Here at KeepingitHeel we’ve written a few times about the things which made Kirk Urso special, and this match stands as yet another testament. This match stands beyond the massive professional and collegiate outreach after his death, it stands beyond the inspiration which he provided to the Crew in the MLS season, and it stands beyond the plaudits and tributes offered to Kirk before and after his tragic passing. Now Kirk not only has a memory, he has a legacy. Going forward, his loss can mean the lives of youths through life saving research.
Aside from the Columbus game, the Heels will play the Railhawks in Cary on March 23rd, UNC Wilmington in Wilmington on the 6th of April, Charlotte in Greensboro on April 13th, and at Wake Forest on the 20th of April. We’ve played a few of these teams recently, so these should be wins for the Heels, though the point of these games is really more to test the team and allow them to play together against good opposition.
If you can, I advise you attend the Carolina- Crew friendly. You can also contribute directly to the Urso fund if you like. You can follow all of the Carolina soccer spring action here with Keepingitheel just as in the regular season.