A fundraising event scheduled for the soccer fields of this Sunday will support the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) and honor the life of a former Warrior soccer standout
The second annual Day of Soccer is dedicated to the memory of Ben Sassoon, who at the Bellmore Long Island Rail Road station on March 28, 2011 at the age of 19. He graduated from Wantagh High School in 2009 and studied accounting and finance at Hofstra University and the University of Maryland.
The charity event is being organized by Sassoon’s best friend Brian Gitlitz, who thought that gathering the community for some soccer action was an appropriate way to honor the Wantagh High School graduate. Sassoon had a passion for soccer, playing for the Wantagh-Seaford Tidal Waves, Comets, and then earning All-Conference honors with the Wantagh High School varsity program in 2008.
“This is a really fun event and a great way to honor Ben,” said Gitlitz, a Bellmore-Kennedy High School graduate who played on a club team with Sassoon in Merrick.
Last year’s inaugural Day of Soccer event in honor of Sassoon held at Kennedy High School attracted more than 100 people including 88 soccer players and raised more than $5,000 for the AFSP. Gitlitz said he hopes this year’s fundraiser can attract even more participants and raise above $7,000.
Registration for the second annual Day of Soccer will begin at 11:30 a.m. with the games getting underway at noon. Players of all ages and skill levels are welcome to participate. Cleats and shin guards are highly recommended.
A $10 donation is requested from each player. Spectators are welcome to watch for free. The rain date for the event is Aug. 12.
According to the latest data available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 36,035 suicide deaths were reported in the U.S. in 2008. This latest rise places suicide again among the ten leading causes of death in in the U.S. for the first time since 1998. Nearly one million people people make a suicide attempt every year.
Since getting the devastating news of her son's death, Susan Sassoon has worked hard raise awareness about suicide and ways to prevent it. In January, Sassoon in conjunction with Ahava Machar Chapter of Hadassah a held at at in Wantagh before a packed audience of many middle school, high school and college students as well as numerous parents.