Congressmen Christopher Van Hollen (D-Md.) and David Reichert (R-Wash.) decided to take their fight outside this time— far away from the safety of the House chambers. Instead of duking it out over partisan issues like budget cuts or immigration, the two political powerhouses were “fighting” in the name of soccer.
The two congressmen, co-chairs of the Congressional Soccer Caucus, faced off as team captains for Wednesday night’s epic soccer matchup in the first ever Capital Soccer Classic. The charity game, played at Gallaudet University in Washington D.C., was sponsored by the U.S. Soccer Foundation, POLITICO, and Johnson and Johnson.
Congressmen Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), Mike McIntyre (D-N.C.), Luke Messer (R-Ind.), Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) and Todd Young (R-Ind.), played alongside former US Men’s National team players, Cobi Jones, John O’Brien, John Harkes, and Claudio Reyna.
Van Hollen, who co-chairs the caucus with Reichert, won the prize for being the only player to make a penalty kick while wearing a suit. Everyone else remembered to bring soccer gear.
Reichert was also a trooper. He took a hard fall, but immediately stood up and kept playing although he was limping by the end of the game.
“But I got back up. You print that,” Reichert reminded POLITICO.
After a tight, high-scoring game that ended in a tie, Van Hollen’s team scored the final penalty kick making the final score 7-6 .
The goal of Wednesday night’s game was to raise money for Soccer for Success, a United States Soccer Foundation after-school charity program aimed at “under-resourced urban communities.” The Congressional Soccer Caucus is a bipartisan group dedicated to promoting soccer throughout communities in the U.S. in order to encourage healthy living among American youth.