Darren Eales, Carlos Bocanegra

A Father Christmas Cup Story

Ellen Peacock front page

Earlier last year, Denzel Clark, a former student at Greater Atlanta Christian School and a talented soccer player, unfortunately lost his mother and father in what can only be described as tragic circumstances. At the time, Denzel was playing Division 1 soccer at Gardner-Webb University in NC and The Father Christmas Cup was able to make a small contribution towards some of the funeral costs. Despite all the difficulties, Denzel himself still graduated from Gardner-Webb and continued to excel on the soccer field.
Denzel’s high school friend and fellow soccer team mate, Stewart Abrahart, invited him to play in The Father Christmas Cup as part of the Global Image Sports (GIS) team, one of the main sponsors of the event. This turned out to be a serendipitous event for Denzel but also became a heartwarming Christmas story about the hope of a brighter future for the family.
As luck would have it, The GIS team was drawn in the same section of the competition as the shirt sponsor, Atlanta United FC, (part of the new Atlanta MLS franchise), who entered a strong team featuring some pro players as well as AUFC President Darren Eales and Technical Director and former US Men’s National Team Captain Carlos Bocanegra.
It was Denzel’s overhead bicycle kick that caught the eye of recently appointed AUFC Youth Soccer Director Tony Annan. As a result, Tony helped arrange a trial with San Antonio FC, a professional soccer team based in San Antonio, Texas that will make their debut in the United Soccer League ahead of the 2016 season. GIS helped Denzel with his travel expenses and he reports that so far, everything has gone well.
Everyone from the Father Christmas Cup and the extensive soccer community across the region are pulling for Denzel in the hope that his Christmas wish comes true. Whatever the outcome of his two week trial however – this story serves to show that there will always be positive opportunities ready to come along and provide some hope where it is needed.
We’ll keep you posted on the story here –

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  Global Image Sports Team and AUFC Team
 Darren Eales, Carlos Bocanegra
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