In the late afternoon on May 29, Matt Hodges, his girlfriend, Gaby Constante, and two friends, Marissa Garnica and Jessica Giraldo, were killed in a car crash in Riverside County, California.
Two communities, Kansas City and Los Angeles, more than 1,600 miles apart, are forever changed by this tragedy.
A few of us traveled to LA for the memorial services and were overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support from the Legends FC soccer community. More than a thousand people attended the services; a city-wide youth soccer tournament was dedicated in Matt's honor; and Mama Val and Matt's brother, Josh, were invited to a Los Angeles Galaxy game where the entire stadium observed a moment of silence for our friend. "Coach Matt" built an incredible life in California, one dedicated to inspiring confidence and passion in young people. One of Matty's third graders wore a custom shirt to the burial that read, "Coach Matt, you are my legend."
A legend indeed.
On June 21 the Kansas City community will have the opportunity to celebrate Matt's life and show that same love and support to Mama Val and Josh. At the Memorial (6-8:30 p.m., Grace Church 8500 West 159th Street, Overland Park, KS 66223), the Baker Boys will formally announce the establishment of the Matt Hodges Memorial Scholarship, the namesake of this gofundme campaign.
When we raise $10,000, an endowed scholarship will be created to honor Matt's legacy at Baker University, his alma mater. The scholarship will be distributed to a soccer player every year in perpetuity – an impactful and lasting tribute to our brother. The more we raise, the larger the gift, so let's not stop at $10,000.
Each year, Mama Val and Josh will have the opportunity (if they wish) to select and meet the recipient. Matty was a terrific player – a team captain and a conference champion. The recipient will have big boots to fill.
Mama Val, Josh, and the Baker coaches will determine the criteria for the scholarship, but as Baker Boys, we have a few demands of the recipient.
The Matt Hodges Memorial Scholarship recipient will:
On day one of the preseason, buy-in.
Against MNU, get stuck-in.
Love his teammates the only way Matt knew how: all-in.
Now, will you join in?
- Gonzo Vega, Matt Hamilton, Elliott Harvey, Matt Germain, Chris Smith, Mike Myer, Bonnie Jones