GRAND RAPIDS – A number of Grand Rapids Football Club founding members took to downtown Grand Rapids on Wednesday afternoon to not only raise awareness for the team’s upcoming season, but also for a more important cause: autism.
Members walked across the Blue Bridge as part of Hope Network’s Bridge Walk for Autism.
“I think that as a club we want to make sure that we’re supporting causes that are doing great things around the city,” said GRFC founder Matt Roberts. “Not only are we wanting to support those causes but we also want to really get involved with them and do anything we can to make sure they’re getting what they need to push forward.”
From the very start, GRFC has been oriented around community and bringing people together, most notably in the way the club was formed. Over 400 individuals, also known as founding members, have contributed to fund the club and make the inaugural 2015 season fiscally possible.
“We wanted to start something that people felt a part of, not just start a soccer team,” commented Roberts. “The big part about it was people got to have a say and have some direct contact with the people that are in charge.”
But, GRFC’s aim is to be more than just a football club. The team does not want to be restricted to the lines on Houseman Field, where the club will begin play this summer, but wants to make a difference in the community and promote a feeling of togetherness.
“We want to make sure we’re in the community and make sure our players, our staff, our supporters – everyone – gets involved so that we can make sure our city continues to be the place we all want it to be,” said Roberts.
Joe Woodruff, a GRFC founding member and the business manager for the Hope Network Center for Autism, put this idea into perspective: “It’s not just about the game being played on the field. Grand Rapids is a tight community, and we want to keep that. If we can involve GRFC with the community it will be something amazing.”
Note: April is National Autism Awareness Month. You can learn more about Hope Network and the work they do in the Grand Rapids area at their website http://hopenetwork.org/.