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Portland Timbers, Thorns Raise $500k For Ukraine With Mixed-Gender Charity Match

Portland has one of the greatest soccer communities in the U.S., and that community came together in beautiful fashion for a unique, mixed-gender charity match on Wednesday night at Providence Park. The “PTFC For Peace” match raised more than $500,000 for UNICEF USA’s relief efforts for children and families affected by Russia’s horrific invasion of Ukraine. 

Timbers (MLS) and Thorns (NWSL) players divided into two teams — Yellow and Blue for the Ukrainian flag’s colors, picked via a draft by team captains — for a friendly that included the best players from Portland’s two professional clubs. The teams included a mix of women’s and men’s players and was officiated by Ukrainian Sergii Demianchuk. 

Team Yellow defeated Team Blue 4-3 in a 60-minute, full-field match thanks to goals from Nathan Fogaça (two), Yimmi Chara and Selmir Miscic. Team Blue’s goal scorers were Hannah Betfort, Jaroslaw Niezgoda and Timbers academy member and Ukrainian national Vova Kubrakov. You can check out the full match by clicking here or see the highlights below.

“It was a super cool experience,” Team Blue captain Kelli Hubly said. “The entire first half I was smiling and laughing the whole time. (Tonight) was such an amazing opportunity to get both teams together for something bigger than just soccer.

“This was a big way for us to do more in the community. We raised half a million dollars, so I think being able to do more for the community and people in need, this was a good experience for us.”

It’s great to see such a unique exhibition match to raise money for those in Ukraine, where Russians have been accused of committing war crimes against the population. Ukraine was forced to cancel its domestic soccer seasons and clubs like Shakhtar Donetsk and Dynamo Kyiv have spent the spring playing charity friendlies around the world. 

The Ukraine national team could end up playing the U.S. in the World Cup. Ukraine plays Scotland on June 1 in a World Cup qualifying playoff — delayed because of the Russian invasion — with the winner facing Wales four days later for a spot in Group B in Qatar alongside the U.S., England and Iran. 

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