On Saturday, June 30, more than 160 Roanoke Star parents and players — including Emma Coman and Coleman Osborne of Troutville– attended the DC United versus Montreal Impact Eastern Conference MLS game. The game attracted the biggest crowd of the season at the RFK Stadium and United certainly put on a show.
The trip started at 11 a.m. Saturday morning as 55 parents and parents climbed aboard the bus from Tanglewood Mall in Roanoke to start the four-hour drive to Washington, D.C. Other parents and players drove up on their own or made a weekend off it by traveling up the night before.
The bus arrived at RFK stadium at 5 p.m. Players and parents aboard the bus took off toward the stadium to catch the pre-game events or meet up with other Star families.
As well as getting to watch a professional game, DC United put on activities for our players, including flag carriers and escorting the DC United and Montreal Impact players onto the field before the game for the national anthems.
Twenty-two player escorts and 26 flag carriers entered the stadium early at 6:30 p.m. to get ready for the activities. The flag carriers entered the field first, carrying a giant USA flag onto the RFK field before four other Star players walked out carrying the FIFA fair play flag.
Following the FIFA fair play flag came the DC United and Montreal Impact players escorted by 22 Roanoke Star players all kitted out in DC United gear! Our players led the pros onto the field for the Canadian and USA national anthems! There was a lot of excitement about who would get to walk out with DC United captain Dwayne De Rosario and that honor fell to Ian Yeaton!
After the flag carriers and player escorts returned to their seats, we sat down to watch the game. DC United cruised to a comprehensive 3-0 victory in front of 18,302 fans. Chris Pontius, Robbie Russell and Hamdi Salihi provided the goals for United, who stay on top of the Eastern Conference with a 10-5-3 record.
After the game, players and parents headed home, with the bus arriving back at Tanglewood Mall at 2:30 in the morning.
“It was a great experience, and we all had a lot of fun! It was a long day, but well worth it. The players and parents got to watch some top quality socce,r and DC United showed a good possession style that we attempt to implement with our Star teams. It was good to see a live game as you see so much more than on the TV. You can really pick up on the movement of the players off the ball,” said Assistant Director of Coaching Martin Smith, who attended the trip along with coach Alan Crowder.
Smith added that the trip also provided an experience for our players to see what goes on before a professional game.
“Our players had the opportunity to escort the pros onto the field and assist with carrying the USA flag and FIFA fair play flag. Our players were able to walk onto the field, interact with the players and watch the teams warming up. I would like to thank DC United for providing a once-in-a-lifetime experience for our players, and we will definitely look into attending another game in the future,” Smith said.
– Submitted by Martin Smith, Assistant Director of Coaching, Roanoke Star Soccer