Although the destruction caused by Hurricanes Irma and Maria back in September 2017 was not nearly as devastating as on some other islands, the two record-breaking storms left a trail of severe damage across Turks & Caicos. Most residents, especially the children, had never experienced anything like it.
The islands rebounded quickly, but the memories remained. Giving his U12 girls team something special to look forward to in the aftermath of that experience was one of the reasons Mark Parrish entered to win the chance to host a UNITED. DELIVERED. match.
“For them to have something like this in the aftermath to look forward to, to enjoy, to be part of is just fantastic”Mark Parrish
“In light of Hurricane Irma in September, which caused quite a lot of problems for the islands, for them to have something like this in the aftermath to look forward to, to enjoy, to be part of is just fantastic.”
But that wasn’t the only reason. He also wanted to “spread the ‘religion’ to the U12 Turks and Caicos Islands Girls team” he coaches, as he wrote in his entry (likely with a grin).
UNITED. DELIVERED. Tour - April Highlights
Mark is a volunteer coach for TCIFA, the Turks and Caicos Islands Football Association. And Mark’s passion for Manchester United is palpable. Donning his favorite United jersey, he’s all smiles as he takes delivery of the UNITED. DELIVERED. kit from DHL’s Alex Schick.
“To be able to play football with a ball that’s travelling around the world and going to different places, it’s something they’ve been very excited about.”Mark Parrish
“It’s just fantastic,” he says. “For the TCIFA, for the country, and for the girls, it’s been just a fantastic experience – a great opportunity to be a part of something special.”
There’s no denying the excitement and enthusiasm in the air. Home to some 31,000 people, the islands aren’t big, but their passion for football sure is. That’s plain to see on this beautiful Saturday morning in September. Though the 9v9 match is listed as a friendly, the girls obviously came to play. Both the red and yellow sides have one thing in mind: winning.
“They had a fabulous day.”Mark Parrish
In addition to receiving the match ball, the TCIFA and its players were supplied with a UNITED. DELIVERED. legacy kit made up of match equipment that included bibs, cones, and goals, all of which the team was allowed to keep as tokens.
Ultimately Team Yellow came out on top 1-0, but it was Team Red’s goalkeeper who was voted the game’s Most Valuable Player and awarded a UNITED. DELIVERED. replica match ball following the game.
“They had a fabulous day,” says Mark. “The event was well attended and supported by the TCIFA, and it made the national TV news and the newspapers.”
When asked what visiting Old Trafford would mean to him, Mark’s answer was simple: “The world!”
The long-time United fan has had the chance to watch the boys from OT play at home, but he’d love to give his girls that same opportunity and more. And we know why, Mark. There’s no better way to spread the ‘religion’ of Manchester United than stepping foot in the Theatre of Dreams.
Though registration has closed, the UNITED. DELIVERED. Global Football Tour continues. Watch all the highlight videos and check out an interactive map with all the match locations here.
Keep following the tour on Twitter @DHLManUtd and #DHLUnitedDelivered.