Recap: Steve Nash’s 7th Annual Showdown NYC

Posted on: June 26th, 2014 at 12:19 pm by

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Showdown 2014

As we neared Sara D. Roosevelt Park, the summery jingle of ice cream trucks, overworked engines of delivery vehicles, and general afternoon din of the Lower East Side was replaced with a growing festive atmosphere. Speakers pumped out Top 40 dance remixes and people milled about. The threat of rain didn’t dampen the spirits of those in attendance for Steve Nash’s 7th Annual Showdown NYC, to benefit the Steve Nash Foundation.

The breezy bleacher seats filled up fairly quick – by kickoff there was a decent crowd (albeit thinner than prior years)  lining the park and standing on benches to watch their fave superstars take the field. An array of favorite national and club teams were represented on the backs of fans; Argentina, Brazil (natch), MCFC, AC Milan, ManU, Chelsea, Arsenal, Nash jerseys and even a “Dirk is my Homeboy” tee.  Kids ran rampant, reenacting Messi’s goals from earlier in the day, and sending soccer balls flying every which way, as they warmed up the well worn pitch before kickoff. We even spotted comedian Judah Friedlander on the pitch.

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Steve Nash, Showdown 2014

After the sponsors (Umbro, Jean Richard, Jaw Bone, Honest Company, et al.) were thanked, the players announced, and warm-up balls were sent soaring out of the park – the game was underway. This year’s roster included the following:

Steve Nash (Showdown Co-Founder and LA Laker)
Simone Sandri (Showdown Co-Founder)
Dirk Nowitzki (Dallas Mavericks)
Giuseppe Rossi (Fiorentina)
Wilson Chandler (Denver Nuggets)
Alessandro Noselli (NY Cosmos)
Kyle Martino (Columbus Crew & L.A. Galaxy)
Mason Plumlee (Brooklyn Nets)
Jonathan Spector (Birmingham City)
Richie Williams (U.S. Men’s National Under 17 Coach)
Jean Paul Pineda (Rangers Chilean Premier League)
Jason Kreis (New York City FC)
Tomas Pina Isla (Villarreal CF)
Miles Joseph (New York City FC)
Giovanni Bartocci (Lower East Sider, GM of Via Della Pace)

It’s loads of fun to be a part of such a fast-paced competitive atmosphere, and witness the many ball tricks warranted for street play. Yet what makes this event special is how it pays tribute to what it’s really all about: the kids. There was a lot of back-and-forth early on; former US National Kyle Martino found himself with a quick breakaway, and lofted the ball over the Red Team’s goalie into back of the net. He didn’t stop there; he victoriously climbed the field’s fence to celebrate his goal, which only made the crowd cheer and laugh louder. Dirk Nowitzki launched the ball out of the park and into the playground on several occasions, which had kids roaring with laughter at the NBA star. Steve Nash sent a few into flight as well. On one occasion, Nash booted the ball into the trees, then shielded his eyes and looked to the sky dramatically, laughing, much to the amusement of the crowd.

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There may have been bloopers, but there was plenty of fancy footwork, as well. Giuseppe Rossi danced around the ball, and fed teammates the quickest, cleverest passes. Mark Stein had several brilliant assists. Another highlight was the Mason Plumlee goal, where he pulled an incredible fake before burying the ball in the mesh. Nash ran over to celebrate by bending down and pretending to shine his boots.  There was also an instance after Rossi missed a shot on target, where he followed his run through by jogging up to a wide-eyed kid sitting on the side of the pitch, and patted his cheeks with his hands. Moments like this were continual throughout the event, and proved a true testament of the gift that Showdown is for the kids of the Lower East Side and NYC.

The final score was 11-7, Team Nash, with the Jean Richard MVP Award going to Dirk Nowitzki. The youth were slightly incredulous about this achievement. “He was the worst player, though!” they declared, their fingers pulling on the chain link fence and laughing. For many of the kids, it was their first Showdown, but they agreed that the best part was when their favorites showed their more human side. “Dirk kicking the ball over the bleachers – that was the best! He’s so tall!” was just one of the many declarations heard among the chattering crowd, as the fans dispersed and the rain drops closed out another successful street match.

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