MLS identities in Seattle headed to Van Asselt Elementary School to help build the students a playground yesterday. By the end of the day, the playground was complete. The purple, green and yellow equipment was surrounded by birch bark, fitting in with the plush green grass. A mural was painted on a wall. All the players and volunteers were dirty and tired from a hard day's work.
"We're a healthy school," said Principal ElDoris Turner. "Our snacks are all healthy snacks. We want our children to be healthy. A vital point to that is how healthy they are. When the kids have a safe place to play, they do better in the classroom."
MLS W.O.R.K.S. teamed up with The Home Depot and KaBOOM! to make the event happen. Volunteers, including students, parents and friends of the school, employees of The Home Depot and MLS players, worked all day to help the playground turn into a reality. They also worked to beautify the grounds.
"It's always overwhelming to see people give their kindness and time," Turner said. "And for us to be able to tie it in with the Sounders and MLS is great for all of us."
Kasey Keller, Fredy Montero, James Riley and Peter Vagenas represented Seattle Sounders FC. Dwayne De Rosario (Toronto FC) and Zach Thornton (Chivas USA) were also in attendance. For the players, the most rewarding part of the day was knowing they were giving back to the kids.
"I'm happy to come to Seattle to be a part of this great event," De Rosario said. "MLS Cup is always a great time for all of us in the game. Giving back to the community, especially to the kids is a big part of MLS W.O.R.K.S.
"I haven't done an actual building of a playground before today. It was a lot of fun, especially painting with the kids."