Each and every game without fail, NYCFC has their Tunnel of Honor, where members of the NYPD & FDNY stand opposite each other as the teams pass between them, heading out to the field. It is always a very inspiring sight.
This year as in years past they will honor those with the departments, in the following fashions:
- The jerseys #'s will go to a flag pattern, and players will have unique 9/11 armbands in remembrance.
-NYCFC players will enter the field in specifically designed 9/11 warm up tops, paying tribute to city agencies.
-Pre match, a moment of silence will be observed.
-In excess of 75 first responders on the pitch will hold a field size US flag for the National Anthem, they and their families are guests of the team.
-A color guard consisting of members of the NYPD, FDNY, PAPD & Santiation will be on field.
-The Tunnel of Honor will adjust a bit as players will enter the field with those of the Tunnel.
-First responders are to be the Ford Hero of the Match, Honorary Captain and set off the smoke stacks.
-NYPD & FDNY soccer team members who participated in the recent Local Ford Classic will be recognized on the field. The Ford dealers will then donate to both the NYC Finest SC & the FF Sergio Villanueva Soccer Foundation. Sergio, who began as a member of the NYPD team then went over to work and play for the FDNY, was lost at Ground Hero.
As I have been offering them since their inception, NYCFC went to the 9/11 Memorial & Museum, and this one went better than the time the departments teams' brought the USMNT there as fewer people were smiling for photos at this hollowed ground. This amazes me as I brought a women's national from Europe, their nation was lucky enough to not have lost anyone that day, many of them were not even alive at the time, yet all were very stoic, asking who I may have known, about Sergio, etc. as I gave them a tour. The same for movie producers and others I have brought there. I would think not too many smile at Pearl Harbor on the bridge and other sites. While there there was a ceremonial jersey swap in honor of Sergio.
Claudio Reyna of NJ and NYCFC Sporting Director, certain to have been affected by this tragic event stated, "Everyone remembers where they were on September 11. 2001. I was representing this country as captain of the US Men's National Team; that was a huge honor and responsibilty." Team captain Alex Ring added " We are proud to represent the five boroughs, and we know it is a privvlige to play for New York City. Our team visit to the 9/11 Memorial & Museum was an important opportunity to come together to honor those affected by the 9/11 attacks."