Bucks US Open Cup Match to Celebrate the Career of Tom Ford
Oakland University legend stricken with ALS to be honored at halftime
Pontiac, MI (May 23, 2017)- While the Michigan Bucks have been making headlines all over the country for their outstanding start to the season and last week’s upset of the NASL’s Indy Eleven in the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup tournament, it was heartbreaking news from close to home that has put a damper on the Bucks organization. Longtime friend of the program, Tom Ford was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) on May 10th and stepped away from his duties at Oakland University as the Associate Athletic Trainer, a position he has excelled in for the past thirty years.
To honor this local legend, the Bucks are celebrating the Career of Tom Ford and his family at the Bucks US Open Cup Round Three match up with the professional side St. Louis FC (D2 United Soccer Leagues). Fans will be able to sign a banner that will be presented to Tom and his family at halftime along with a large portion of the proceeds from the tickets to the game on Tuesday, May 30th (8:00 PM kick off). Presale tickets will be available by Wednesday for only $8 (all ages, 5 and under free) online at www.buckssoccer.com. Any remaining tickets available at the door will be sold for $10. The winner of the Bucks-St. Louis FC game will host the Chicago Fire of Major League Soccer on June 14th so with everything at stake, the team expects a sold out stadium.
The Bucks are planning a special halftime presentation to honor the man, known around campus simply as “T Ford,” and that tribute will be led by Tom’s longtime friend and former Oakland University men’s soccer coach Gary Parsons. Parsons retired from Oakland to become the Michigan Bucks Director of Coaching nearly a decade ago. “This is going to be a gut wrenching night for many of us next Tuesday,” said Parsons. “While the Bucks are trying to make history in a very big challenge on the field against a pro team, all I will be thinking about is the only thing that really matters in life and that is the future for Tom and his family. He was the absolute best at what he did and I was honored to have him work alongside me for most of our professional careers. We know we can’t dwell on what has happened so we have to focus on what we can do to help this man who has helped more student athletes and their families then anyone can ever imagine. I know the Oakland family will be there to support our all time favorite Pioneer and Golden Grizzly. It is going to be a very emotional night, both on and off the field.”
Bucks owner Dan Duggan is working diligently with the staff at Oakland University to make this a special night for both the family and the school. “Oakland University has meant a lot to the Michigan Bucks over the years and it certainly has produced some quality human beings outside of just soccer. Tom has been a special friend for so many years that when I heard the news, the first thing I thought of is that we have to use this set back and try and make something positive out of it. That sounds hard to do, but it starts with raising awareness and then raising money. We have lots of time to do that, but what is really important to all of us now is to call a time out and use this stage to say “thank you” to one of the most lovable families this area of the country has even known. We all hope the Bucks can win on Tuesday night, but what is really important is to help T Ford win this battle; one most of us know very little about but are quickly beginning to learn.”
Details about the huge event a week from now are still being finalized and will circulated as they are complete. The Bucks travel to Dayton to play the Dutch Lions this week Tuesday and then return home to play host to the West Virginia Chaos at their annual matinee appearance at the Canton Cup Memorial Day Soccer Tournament this Saturday (Noon kick off). Admission to the Bucks 10th annual game at the Canton Cup is free courtesy of the Canton Cup organizing committee and the Canton Soccer Club. Following those two Premier Development League games (PDL), the team will rest up for a couple of days before professional soccer returns to town for US Open Cup action.
To follow the Bucks and to keep up on all of our efforts to raise ALS awareness and to find out more about next Tuesday’s special Tom Ford celebration, follow the team onTwitter @MichiganBucks, as well as on Facebook @MichiganBucksSoccer and Instagram @MichiganBucksPDL. Further updates and pre sale tickets will also be available at www.buckssoccer.com.
Anyone wanting to offer help or assistance to the #TFordStrong campaign to help the Ford family raise money and awareness for ALS, please contact Dan Duggan at firstname.lastname@example.org. Contributions can also be made at the Tom Ford GO FUND ME link at https://www.gofundme.com/t-fords-gatorade-fund which was started by several of Tom’s student athletes at Oakland University.