‘SportsCenter’ to honor memory of Army private who sought soccer gear for Iraqis
A segment set to air Sunday on ESPN’s “SportsCenter” will tell the story of how thousands of Iraqi children have benefitted from the generosity of an Army private killed Sept. 3, 2006, in Baqouba, Iraq, by a roadside bomb, ESPN officials said.
The segment spotlights Army Pvt. Nick Madaras, of Wilton, Conn., and begins airing with the 11 p.m. EST Sunday “SportsCenter” telecast, according to ESPN spokesman Dan Quinn. “SportsCenter” airs frequently throughout the day on AFN-Sports.
According to an ESPN news release, the “SportsCenter” story follows the soccer passion of Madaras, a three-year starter at Wilton High School, referee and youth coach.
Madaras served in Iraq and often saw children playing soccer with old balls or tin cans. He asked his parents to send used soccer balls to distribute to Iraqi children, but Madaras was killed in action before the request could be fulfilled.
A Wilton resident read of Madaras’ request and approached the family with the idea of collecting soccer balls, putting Nick’s name on them and sending them to Iraq, where U.S. soldiers could distribute them.
More than 1,500 soccer balls have been sent 6,000 miles from Connecticut to Koresh, Iraq, in Madaras’ honor. The feature includes interviews with villagers and children.