HARRISON, N.J. – The Red Bulls will host the annual Autism Acceptance Match on Saturday when the club hosts CF Montréal at Red Bull Arena at 4 p.m.

For every ticket purchased here, the club will donate $3 to Autism CAN.

Autism CAN (CARE, ACCESS and NAVIGATE) is a philanthropic initiative supporting Hackensack Meridian Children’s Health’s mission to provide families with autistic children access to the highest quality care, trusted resources and specialized environments sensitive to the unique needs of children on the autism spectrum and their families.

“We are so pleased partner with the Red Bulls for the Autism Acceptance Match at Red Bull Arena once again,” Amy Glazer, executive director, Children’s Health, Hackensack Meridian Health Foundation, said in a statement. “Over the past year, Hackensack Meridian Health and Hackensack Meridian Health Foundation have made wonderful strides in raising much-needed funds for Autism CAN that will enable us to ensure families with autistic children in New Jersey and in the surrounding metropolitan area, have access to earlier detection and diagnosis, better availability to care environments sensitive to the autism community’s unique needs and guidance for families on how to find the information they need to best support their child. Dedicated events, like this one, make families and their children feel special, and we are truly grateful to the Red Bulls for their ongoing support.”


Added Red Bulls general manager Marc de Grandpre: “For the eighth year, our club will host a match to support and recognize families of the Autism community. Those coming to Red Bull Arena on Saturday will experience a sensory friendly environment so their loved ones can enjoy the experience from start to finish. We are once again very proud to come together with Hackensack Meridian Health and support its Autism CAN initiative to assist in raising awareness, funds and acceptance to a cause that is important to so many families, including my own.”

In 2017, Red Bull Arena became the first MLS venue to have a permanent sensory room. The room is available for all families impacted by autism for no additional charge during all home matches. The club teamed up with Autism Speaks to design the room, which provides space for families to enjoy Red Bulls games while sitting inside, away from the bulk of the noise and energy inside the arena. The room features dimmed lighting and lightly colored walls to offer a soothing effect, along with visual aids, fidget toys and other activities.

Other initiatives the club will activate to welcome families impacted by autism include:

* No music will be played at the BULLevard (fan activation area outside of Red Bull Arena) from 1:00-2:00 p.m.; music will be lowered from 2:00 p.m. to the start of the match at 4:00 p.m.

* Music volume and PA announcer will be lowered throughout the match.

* The USA and Canadian national anthems will be sung by Red Member Alfredo Calderon, a member of the Supporter Group Viking Army and has been living with Asperger’s Syndrome since his youth.

* Quiet Zone located at a Hospitality Bay on the Plaza Level of Red Bull Arena.

* New Hackensack Meridian Health-branded sensory sacks will be available at guest services and include: noise canceling headphones, poppers, stress balls and wristbands with their specific seating information.

* Spectrum Designs Foundation, a nonprofit that creates employment opportunities for people on the Autism Spectrum, will distribute hand-baked goods in the Audi Club in Red Bull Arena.

The de Grandpré Family Grant For Autism Programs was formed by the club and awards $5,000 to an organization whose work impacts families of loved ones on the autism spectrum.

Front Row Soccer editor Michael Lewis has covered 13 World Cups (eight men, five women), seven Olympics and 25 MLS Cups. He has written about New York City FC, New York Cosmos, the New York Red Bulls and both U.S. national teams for Newsday and has penned a soccer history column for the Guardian.com. Lewis, who has been honored by the Press Club of Long Island and National Soccer Coaches Association of America, is the former editor of BigAppleSoccer.com. He has written seven books about the beautiful game and has published ALIVE AND KICKING The incredible but true story of the Rochester Lancers. It is available at Amazon.com.