Livermore's Fusion Soccer Club is set to commemorate its founding 40 years ago with an anniversary celebration tomorrow at Robertson Park.
Headlining the youth club's festivities will be retired U.S. women's national team star Abby Wambach, who won two Olympic gold medals, a World Cup title and six U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Year honors during her 15-year career.
"Since joining the Livermore community five years ago, it was immediately evident that sport means a lot to this city," Ben Graham, Fusion's director of coaching, said in a statement.
"When Abby announced she would partner with us on our 40th anniversary event, I was extremely excited for the players and people of Livermore," Graham added. "Abby's involvement is a huge honor and a testament to how far the club has come."
Wambach will take part in a soccer clinic with Fusion players who raised money for "Every Goal Counts," a fundraising campaign launched earlier this year with proceeds to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Fusion's college scholarship and financial aid funds and Fusion TOP Soccer, a soccer program for Livermore children with disabilities.
After the clinic, Wambach will join the top 10 Fusion fundraisers for a meal at Patxi's Pizza.
Livermore Mayor John Marchand, Assemblywoman Catharine Baker and Beth Wilson, commissioner for the Livermore Area Recreation and Park District, are also scheduled to appear at the anniversary event, which runs from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the park at 3200 Robertson Park Road.
Originally called the Livermore Youth Soccer League, the Fusion club was founded in 1976 when Livermore's four youth soccer clubs decided to merge into one.
Fusion Soccer has grown from a few dozen players in the early years to more than 2,500 players today, with participation increasing year-over-year for the past six years, club officials said.
The club offers three boys and girls divisions to accommodate all skill levels Recreation, Select and Premier. Fusion TOP Soccer, created two years ago, allows children with disabilities to play at no cost.
Fusion also provides more than $20,000 in financial aid each year to players who can't afford registration fees.
Robertson Park is a fitting venue for tomorrow's event, according to club officials, since Fusion contributed $600,000 toward converting the park's two soccer fields from grass to artificial turf in 2012, helping the facilities go on to also serve rugby, football and lacrosse.
According to club officials, Fusion Soccer emphasizes excellence in the classroom and supporting the community, in addition to skill development on the soccer field.
"Thanks to Fusion my kids have developed a great appreciation for discipline, commitment, loyalty to team and respect for coaching," Fusion board vice president David Fairbanks said in a statement. "Fusion is all about positivity, support, and inclusion. Players learn how to celebrate success, and deal with defeat."
For more information on the 40th anniversary event, visit www.fusionsc.org.