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VOL 3. NO. 25 Monday, July 2 - Sunday, July 8, 2001
Linden E. Walters Memorial Soccer Classic Tournament Honors Memory Of Former Player
By Avonie BROWN
On Saturday, July 7 the Fourth Annual Linden E. Walters Memorial Soccer Classic will take place at Prince George's Community College in Largo, Md. beginning at 8 a.m.-6 p.m. The event will feature 10 teams vying for the championship trophy plus a special all-star match featuring former members of the Jamaica National Team vs. an All Caribbean Team made up of players from other national teams throughout the Caribbean. This free event is being presented by Linden United and Hustler Soccer Clubs. The two organizations share a unique connection, the Classic's namesake, Linden E. Walters. Walters died suddenly on July 12, 1997. He was 40.

His transition came just hours after participating in a soccer practice with members of Hustlers Soccer Club in preparation for an annual tournament in Jamaica. He was watching a cricket match when he died of a cardiac a rhythmia. His passing was so unexpected that even his friend and former Hustler teammate, Yero "Earl" Radway, was convinced that the guys were playing a joke on him when they told him "Wally" had died. "It was a complete shock, absolutely unexpected because Wally was a healthy guy. He was active and trained often because he took the game very seriously," said Radway.

Soccer was indeed a lifelong passion for Walters, explained his widow Dr. Ursula McClymont-Walters, a family physician/geriatrician on faculty at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and the Union Memorial Hospital. Walters came to the U.S. from Guyana in 1981. On the advice of a friend he went and showcased his soccer skills for the coach at the University of the District of Columbia (UDC). The coach was sufficiently impressed to offer him a soccer scholarship. At UDC he studied Architecture and Civil Engineering and he would later earn a Masters of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Maryland. He worked as an architect for several years in the District before moving to the Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission (MNCPPC). It was while Walters was at UDC that he met McClymont in 1983. She was then a student at Howard University. The pair dated until they married in 1991. They have two sons, Tyler Linden, 7, and Malik Noel, 3. Walters also has two other children - Shaffon and Seon.

Through it all soccer remained a consistent component of Walters' life. McClymont-Walters said he played for many different teams in the area and even travelling internationally to play. Walters joined Hustlers in an annual tournament in Jamaica and it is a tradition that the team continues. He helped organize a tournament in Toronto, Canada, with the Guyana Veterans Soccer Club (GVSC). The event was part of celebrations for Guyana's Independence Day. After his death GVSC also established a tournament in his honor that takes place over the Memorial Weekend. In 1995 Walters formed the Guyana Soccer Club (GSC) even though he maintained ties and played in tournaments under Hustlers' colors. GSC has since been renamed Linden United.

Radway said that he and Walters spoke often about organizing a soccer tournament for local Caribbean teams. Regrettably it wasn't until after his death that this wish was realized. One year after his passing the last two teams that he played with organized a memorial game in his honor. For year two, Starliners, a Guyanese soccer club for whom Walters played in the 1980s, was invited to participate. And this year the Classic has been opened up to six teams.

"We wanted to keep the event small, in keeping with how Linden approached the game. So we limited the invitation to teams with which he was associated. We wanted it to be kept more personal and fun," said McClymont-Walters.

More than a celebration of the game Walters loved, organizers hope that the Memorial Classic will also further some of his charitable works. McClymont-Walters said that on trips to Guyana or Jamaica, Walters always carried an extra bag full of pencils, pens, books, T-shirts, shoes and soccer equipment that he would give away in needy areas. The Memorial Committee continues that legacy. With the assistance of sponsors they donated 75 full sets of soccer uniforms and equipment to eight school teams in Guyana.

At the Memorial Classic there will be boxes for attendees to donate school supplies like crayons, paper, pencils as well as socks, balls and soccer equipment. Cash donations are also welcomed. Checks can be made payable to the Linden E. Walters Memorial Soccer Tournament Committee and sent to P.O. #7, Jessup, MD 20794. The Committee also hopes to donate money to the girls' soccer team at Prince George's College and/or establish a scholarship for a student/player of Caribbean descent.

On Friday from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. there will be soccer clinic for kids (5-14 years) at the Acredale Park (corner of University Blvd. & Metzerott Rd., in University Park, MD). No pre-registration or prior experience required. The family friendly atmosphere continues on Saturday at Prince George's Community College with some of the area's best soccer players in competition. But off the field, there will booming reggae music and lots of Caribbean food (fried fish, jerk chicken, curry chicken, rice & peas, plantain and FREE hotdogs for kids) to tempt every taste bud.

For more information about the activities of the Memorial Committee and the weekend classic call 202-257-4667 or 410-925-8298 or the website www.hustlersfc.com/lwalters.htm.

To comment on this or any other article by Avonie Brown email avonie@metroconnection.info

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