Home » Davis, Waibel shine with charity efforts
June 2, 2009 – MLSnet.com
By Dwain Capodice
For several Houston Dynamo players, Saturday night turned out to be about more than just a soccer game. Brad Davis and Craig Waibel both helped spearhead charity efforts that had little to do with publicity and more to do with just helping, however they could.
Davis spearheaded “Brad’s Brigade,” a campaign to purchase tickets to the Dynamo game against Toronto FC for military personnel and their families, supported by the U.S. Army. However, Brad’s Brigade was not something simply started overnight. Davis has quietly been bringing military families to Dynamo games for some time already while he has played in Houston.
“They put their lives on the line everyday to allow us to have this fun and do what we do,” said Davis. “It was the least I could do to say thank you.
“I was born into a military family,” he continued. “My grandparents served, my dad served, my uncle served, my cousin still serves and my best friend still serves. I have a lot of heart and soul in the military, and it means a lot to me.”
In the 19th minute, Davis got to pay tribute to the Brigade. After scoring off a free kick, the midfielder ran over to the corner of the field near the seats provided to the Brigade and saluted them for his goal celebration — a dream scenario he couldn’t have imagined earlier in the week.
“I couldn’t have written that any better,” said Davis.
The final tally for Brad’s Brigade was impressive. 275 tickets were purchased for members of the armed forces and their families. With an initial goal of 100 tickets, the event surpassed expectations.
“It’s been fantastic the support from the fans, and it exceeded whatever we thought it would be,” said the Dynamo midfielder. “Hopefully it’s something that continues.”
Davis’ teammate, Craig Waibel, was also busy himself helping to raise funds for cancer research with the “Bald Is Beautiful” campaign in conjunction with Nick’s Team.
While Waibel might be the face on the front of the T-shirts that were given out, the new look sported by his teammate Mike Chabala at the game on Saturday showed that “Bald is Beautiful” was not a one-Dynamo operation. Chabala, along with any fan who raised sufficient funds, had their head shaved in support of the charity.
Several of Waibel and Chabala’s Dynamo teammates have made visits to the hospital in their free time or stayed late after the game Saturday night to visit with Brad’s Brigade.
“This team is wonderful,” Waibel said. “Eight or nine guys go to the hospital pretty frequently and those families don’t just know me, they know those guys.
“I think people have caught on to the fact that it’s not publicity, it’s personal,” said the veteran defender. “Mike, myself, Stuart (Holden) — so many guys go down and visit these kids and their families. That is what has given it legs. The more we talked about it, the more people realize that we aren’t doing it for publicity, we’re doing it because we know these families.”
For Waibel, he was blown away after the game at how much was accomplished. Bald is Beautiful raised more than $30,000 for children’s cancer research on Saturday, and with initial goals in the range of $10,000, it also surpassed expectations.
“I consider myself a good person who tries to do good things for my community and people around me,” said Waibel. “But, rarely do I stop and have a tangible moment. Tonight was a little emotional for me because it was a tangible moment to see all those families and all the people who support causes like this. It’s an unbelievable thing to be a part of this city and for the city to respond and respect what I am doing.”