The Press-Telegram has some exciting news about this year’s Let’s Play Ball campaign benefiting Long Beach’s Boys & Girls Clubs:
To boost sports ball donations, we’re leveraging the excitement surrounding the 2022 FIFA World Cup – with the help of a famous local sports bar.
Legends Restaurant and Sports Bar, the first modern sports bar in the United States, has agreed to be a place during the World Cup for customers to drop off sports balls as part of PT’s Let’s Play Ball campaign.
“As the forefather of all sports bars, Legends has always been in the community, serving athletes from elementary school through college,” said Matt Peterson, co-owner of Legends, 5236 E. Second St. Tuesday, Nov. 22. “We are excited to be able to help the children at Long Beach Boys & Girls Clubs.”
While Legends have been busy at Belmont Shore since the start of the World Cup earlier this week, the biggest attraction will be the US men’s national team.
And the American Outlaws fan group — a non-profit organization dedicated to organizing support for U.S. men’s, women’s and youth soccer teams — will host watch parties at the Legends during upcoming USMNT games.
The United States will play strong favorites England in a key game on Friday 25 November at 11am CET and then take on Iran on Tuesday 29 November at 11am CET. In their first game of Group B, USA played against Wales to a 1-1 draw.
“We are very excited to partner with Legends for the ball drive,” said Don Rodriguez, CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Long Beach. “I can see it now, these donors at Legends watching one of our club members at the 2030 World Cup who made it thanks to balls donated eight years earlier.”
The Press-Telegram, along with sister newspaper The Grunion Gazette, are asking readers to donate new sports balls and money to the clubs’ sports, fitness and recreation programmes. The aim is to have 2,800 new balls available to clubs by the December 12th entry deadline (although the World Cup ends on December 18th). The Boys & Girls Clubs of Long Beach serves more than 2,500 youth ages 6 to 18 at 13 locations in west, north and central neighborhoods of the city.
The clubs need different balls: basketballs, softballs, soccer balls, dodgeballs, volleyballs, kickballs, tether balls and tennis balls – and of course soccer balls.
Earlier this week, Minh Luu, Director of Special Projects for the Long Beach Clubs, delivered boxes to Legends as a drop-off point, joining other locations around town.
“We’re excited to support the Boys & Girls Club’s annual ball event,” said Cassidy Jones, a Legends server.
In addition to dropping new sports balls into one of the boxes at Legends, donors can also scan one of two QR codes on the boxes.
A QR code directs donors to the Amazon Wishlist, where they can purchase items and ship them directly to the Long Beach Boys & Girls Club Administrative Office.
The other QR code allows you to donate money that will be used to purchase needed sports equipment. All of this can also be found on the club’s website, bgclublb.org/Joy.
In addition to Legends, donors can also drop off new Sports Balls at the following locations:
- Big 5 Sporting Goods: 4780 Pacific Coast Highway, in Long Beach; and 5247 Lakewood Blvd., in Lakewood, during business hours. Big 5 is again offering 25% off regular price sports balls that people are buying to donate to B&G Clubs.
- The Boys & Girls Clubs of Long Beach Main Office: 3635 Long Beach Blvd., 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday to Friday. Clubs are closed this Thursday and Friday for Thanksgiving.
- Participating First Bank locations: 6200 E. Pacific Coast Highway and 4040 Atlantic Ave., in Long Beach; and 5195 Lakewood Blvd., in Lakewood.
- Phil Tranis Restaurant: 3490 Long Beach Blvd., in Long Beach.
- Boathouse on the Bay Restaurant: 190 N Marine Drive, Long Beach.
For more information, email Kari Cho, Vice President of Marketing and Development, Boys & Girls Clubs at [email protected] or call 562-595-5945.
Thank you in advance for helping children and making a difference during this holiday season.
And who knows? Maybe one of those kids will grow up to play for the USA at the World Cup.