NEWTOWN, Conn. Members of the Houston Dynamo will join other MLS players Monday in hosting Soccer Night in Newtown.

The event is open only the Newtown residents and members of the Newtown Youth Soccer Club.

Local families will be able to meet MLS and US national team players, play in small-sided games and spend an afternoon focusing on soccer rather than the tragic shooting that left 26 dead on Dec. 14 at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

We just had something small in mind and once word started to get out there was tremendous response from others to get involved, said Chris Canetti, Dynamo team president and a native of Guilford, just 45 miles from Newtown. Being the Dynamo and being a long ways away from Newtown, I didn t think it was appropriate to close it down to others that are closer. So we opened it up ... and now we have over 40 players and have something big brewing.

Thirty MLS players will participate in the event including Houston s Brad Davis and Brian Ching, the LA Galaxy s Landon Donovan, the New England Revolution s Matt Reis, and the San Jose Earthquakes Marcus Tracy, who grew up in Newtown and whose mother once taught at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

US national team stars including Cobi Jones, Alexi Lalas, Mia Hamm, and Connecticut native Kristine Lilly, will also take part.

The event was organized Canetti, Eric Da Costa, head coach of the Quinnipiac University soccer men s soccer team and the Connecticut Football Club.

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