HANOVER, N.J. – Aurelien Collin picked up his most important assist of the year, but the New York Red Bulls center back was nowhere near the field when it happened.
Instead, it was a couple of text messages that helped out one of the team’s biggest fans.
On Tuesday night, Collin sent a message to his teammates about Kevin Mota, a fan of the team who utilizes a wheelchair. Mota created a GoFundMe page this past May to raise funds for a new wheelchair, the excerpt on the page saying that “my family doesn't have the money to buy me one.”
Collin became aware of the need this week for Mota and reached out to several teammates, many of whom made donations.
As of Wednesday evening, Mota raised over $8,800 dollars, much more than the $5,000 needed for the wheelchair. Donations came in from fans who heard about Mota’s drive via social media as well as contributions from several players.
The philanthropy has allowed Mota to upgrade his purchase and even change the color scheme of the chair, making it red for his favorite club.
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Players such as Collin, Tyler Adams, Daniel Royer, Sacha Kljestan, Luis Robles and Bradley Wright-Phillips among others all made sizable commitments to push this fund forward.
“I thought that was supposed to be private,” Wright-Phillips said when asked about it. “Aurelien sent a message to a few of the senior guys on the team just let us know the situation and if we’d be willing to donate. That’s that and it’s for a good cause. I’ve spent my money on worse things. I was more than happy to donate.”
Mota, a native of Paterson, N.J., is often hours early to games at Red Bull Arena, zipping around in his wheelchair and chatting with anyone wanting to talk soccer. After matches, he heads to the arena exit where the players drive out from their parking lot, hanging out so as to give high fives.
He is essentially the mayor of Red Bull Arena, always smiling and faithful to his team. Talk with him for a few moments and one is immensely impressed with Mota’s poise and passion.
The players often interact with Mota, one of their most faithful fans.
“I’ve seen him, had conversations, talked to him a couple of times. He’s good, he pulls up outside the stadium and signed some things for him before and had a nice little chat,” Wright-Phillips said. “I know he’s a die-hard supporter so good luck to him.”