MLS players, US legends line up for special soccer event in Newtown, Conn.

Ethan Finlay to take part in "Soccer Night in Newtown" on Jan. 7

The tragic school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, affected the entire nation.

It had a particularly strong affect on Houston Dynamo general manager Chris Canetti. Within days of the shooting, Canetti, a Connecticut native, knew he wanted to do something for the Newtown community.

Canetti got in touch with Eric Da Costa, the Quinnipiac University soccer head coach. The pair reached out to youth soccer people they knew in the area, including the Connecticut Football Club youth program, and suddenly things were in motion.

What emerged — and has quickly picked up momentum — is “Soccer Night in Newtown,” a special soccer event taking place on January 7 and open only to Newtown residents and members of the Newtown Youth Soccer Club. Local families and children will be able to meet MLS and US national team stars, play in small-sided games, and spend an afternoon thinking about the beautiful game rather than the ugliness of recent events.

More than 30 MLS players will be involved, including Houston’s Brad Davis, LA Galaxy’s Landon Donovan, New England Revolution’s Matt Reis, and San Jose Earthquakes’ Marcus Tracy, who grew up in Newtown.

US national team stars, including Cobi Jones, Alexi Lalas, Mia Hamm, and Connecticut native Kristine Lilly also quickly pledged their support.

They will all take part in what is shaping up to be a very special day for the Newtown community.

Participating players:

Columbus Crew
Ethan Finlay

FC Dallas
Zac Loyd, Bobby Warshaw

Houston Dynamo
Corey Ashe, Brad Davis, Brian Ching, Ricardo Clark, Tally Hall

LA Galaxy
Landon Donovan, Sean Franklin, Rafael Garcia,

NE Revolution
Kevin Alston, Darrius Barnes, Ryan Guy, Matt Reis, Clyde Simms, Chris Tierney, Bobby Shuttleworth

New York Red Bulls
Kenny Cooper, Heath Pearce, Ryan Meara

Philadelphia Union
Chris Albright, Ray Gaddis

Real Salt Lake
Kwame Watson-Siriboe

San Jose Earthquakes
Marcus Tracy

Seattle Sounders
David Estrada, Josh Ford

Vancouver Whitecaps
Brad Knighton , Omar Salgado, Matt Watson

U.S. Men’s Legends
Cobi Jones, Alexi Lalas, Eric Wynalda, Mike Burns, Tony Meola

U.S. Women’s Legends
Mia Hamm, Kristine Lilly, Christie Rampone