Throughout his 10-year tenure as a member of Sporting Kansas City, defender Graham Zusi has visited Children’s Mercy Hospital countless times to interact and play games with kids affected by cancer and other serious illnesses.
These heartwarming occasions give children and their families a unique opportunity to connect and bond with Zusi and several other Sporting players over the course of the year.
On Tuesday, Zusi’s trip to Children’s Mercy offered a surprise that left the MLS veteran in tears.
Upon entering the hospital’s activity room, Zusi was greeted by Children’s Mercy patients with some big news: he had been selected as a 2019 MLS All-Star.
Holding up posters, clutching pictures of his face and displaying All-Star jerseys, the kids let Zusi in on the secret that he would be attending the 2019 MLS All-Star Game in his hometown of Orlando, Florida. Zusi’s dad, Dave, watched the surprise unfold via Skype.
“I was completely caught off guard,” Zusi said with tears in his eyes. “Just an amazing feeling. If anyone knew me, this [individual attention] is not what I like as a person — to do it in front of a crowd. But if it had to be done, this is the way.”
Zusi receives MLS All-Star recognition for the seventh time in his heralded career, tying club legend Preki for the most in Sporting history.
The 2019 MLS All-Star Game presented by Target will pit the MLS All-Stars against 10-time Spanish champions Atletico Madrid on July 31 at Exploria Stadium. The summer showcase will kick off at 7 p.m. CT, airing live on FS1 and UniMas in the U.S. and across more than 170 countries globally.