Soccer tournament helps families of fallen first responders

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Firefighters and police officers go head to head in a shootout, but there are no guns involved, only a soccer ball.

Even though they're playing on different teams, they're  playing for a common goal.

"We're a family whether you're a police officer or paramedic or a firefighter, we're all a family," said Juan Olivas, a Kansas City, Mo. Firefighter.

This weekend Kansas City's first responders are still helping out, but in a different way.  Friday night the Kansas City, Mo. Fire Department and Kansas City, Mo. Police Department became rivals for a couple hours for bragging rights and a chance to advance in the Unsung Heroes Soccer Tournament.  There are teams from throughout Kansas and Missouri in town for the tournament, even a team from Virginia that drove 22 hours.

"We all love coming out here, we all love the game of soccer," said Sgt. Eric Stucker, a Kansas City, Mo. Police officer.

While they're having fun, the tournament's about much more than bonding time.  It's about raising money for S.A.F.E. or the Surviving Spouse and Family Endowment Fund, which helps families of first responders who've died in the line of duty.

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"I can't help them directly, but his allows people to indirectly at least help monetarily," Sgt. Stucker said.

"It's good to know for us that we have somebody there for us, for our family if something happens," Olivas said.

So while not everyone can come out with the trophy, in this tournament, everyone wins.

The Unsung Heroes Soccer Organization will continue to hold tournaments throughout the country.  This year was Kansas City's turn to host.

Three games will be played Saturday at Rockhurst University's soccer field, and it's free to attend.
The games are at 8:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m., and 3:30 p.m.

The Kansas City, Mo. Fire Department won Friday night's game against the Police Department.

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