By Jessica Sanchez and Mike S Payton, Contributing Reporters
MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA – On Saturday, November 23rd, the second annual Celebrity Soccer Match returns to Miami Beach at the North Beach Bandshell Sand-bowl. The event aims to promote a culture of sports inclusion, social responsibility and employment integration of those with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
This year’s Celebrity Soccer Match is presented by Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood, and is a project committed to raising awareness for the work achieved by Best Buddies. It was founded by Julianna Strout, Commissioner of North Bay Village and Miss America contestant, and Alex Avellanet, Principal at BonVoix, Corp. and sports radio host.
Julianna Strout explains what is different this year for the Celebrity Soccer Match event. “The second installment of this event is very different from last year. We are an official city-sponsored event, [and] partnered with the Miami HEAT, Miami Dolphins, Miami Marlins, Concacaf, Inter Miami CF, and Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.”
Adding, “We’re offering children’s clinics this year as well. We have many celebrities and athletes participating this year. It is now a 4-day event compared to the inaugural one day event. I also partnered with Alex Avellanet and Zero Fractal this year. Lastly, Miami Beach Commissioner Michael Gongora has been a great support for 2019.”
Same as last year though, event looks to promote a culture of sports inclusion for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), with the support of celebrities, soccer stars, athletes, models, Buddies and residents alike.
Strout shared, “We have sports stars from all leagues including NFL, MLB, NBA and Sports Illustrated models. Some participants include Juan Arango, Marco Borriello, Rashad Jennings, Santana Moss, Connor J. Obrochta and more.”
The Celebrity Beach Soccer Match will be at the North Beach Bandshell Sand-bowl at 7251 Collins Avenue, and provide family-friendly program of events from 11AM to 4PM. The day will include; 7-on-7 friendly matches, meet-and-greet, children’s soccer clinics, soccer training fitness class, show-cases, brand activations and a VIP lounge.
For the families, and young athletes, Strout shared, “The children’s clinics will be run by La Liga, Concacaf, and Inter Miami CF offering incredible training sessions.”
Also this year with the support of Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood, there will be discussion panels, cocktail hours and photo shoots happening there on Thursday and Friday, an after party on Saturday, as well as yoga and a pool party on Sunday.
Best Buddies International is a nonprofit Organization dedicated to establishing a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities tor One-to-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership development tor people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
General admission is to the Celebrity Soccer Match is free. VIP Lounge tickets are $150 and can be purchased online.