COLUMBIA - Rains from Hurricane Ike dampened the MU Soccer team's "Kick for Nick" charity promotion held during the team's home game Sunday against Butler.
The "Kick for Nick" charity began two years ago with the efforts of Nick Madaras, a private first class in the U.S. Army from Connecticut. He wanted to promote soccer for children in Iraq. While serving a tour of duty in Iraq in 2006, Madaras noticed Iraqi children used bags of rocks and old tin cans to play soccer in the streets. After a roadside bombed killed Madaras, then only 19, his family has kept Madaras' memory alive by continuing to collect and distribute soccer balls to the children in Iraq and Afgahnistan in his name.
MU senior defender Mo Redmond urged the Tigers' coaching staff to organize the "Kick for Nick" event after watching a story about the origins of the organization that aired on ESPN.
"I have a sister in the military, so I was really touched by the story" Redmond said.
Just hours before the original 1 p.m. kick off time, poor field conditions forced MU officials to push the match back until 6 p.m. The dismal weather and last minute rescheduling left a sparse gathering of fans at Walton Stadium and collection barrels for soccer balls half full.
The few fans who donated balls received free admission to watch the Tigers defeat Butler 2-1 on Sunday for the MU team's third consecutive win. MU defender Lindsey McCoy scored in the 44th minute to put the Tigers up 1-0. Butler defender Mandi Kotynski answered within seconds, tying the game at 1 when MU goalie Tasha Dittmore came off her line.
"It was an immature mistake to give up a goal immediately after we scored," MU coach Bryan Blitz said. "But it was the first goal we've scored in the first half this season, so it was an improvement for our attack."
Redmond scored the winning goal in the 83rd minute.
Team officials plan to hold another "Kick for Nick" charity drive later this season in the hope to collect more soccer balls for the children of Iraq and Afghanistan. The Tigers will sport pink to raise breast cancer awareness when they face the Iowa Hawkeyes in their next home game at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Walton Stadium.