The Madison 56ers are preparing to play host to the National Premier Soccer League Midwest Region tournament this weekend at Breese Stevens Field. On Tuesday night, the amateur team will continue their preparations while honoring a former 56ers player.
The second annual Shari and Bram Dorresteijn Memorial Games kick off at 6:15 p.m. at Breese Stevens.
Bram Dorresteijn (Madison Memorial/UW), a former 56ers defender, and his wife Shari passed away as the result of injuries suffered in a car accident April 24, 2014, in Kenosha County. The Sun Prairie couple were 34 and 33, respectively.
"Both Bram and Shari were wonderful people and we are putting on the event to keep their memory alive," Brian Feyrer, Bram's longtime friend and teammate who helped organize the games, wrote in an email. "I hope as many as possible can attend and celebrate the lives of Bram and Shari. It should be a good chance to watch some quality soccer and socialize with those in the soccer community."
Bram Dorresteijn played for Madison Memorial in 1996 and '97 and the Badgers from 1998 to 2000, serving as a co-captain in 1999. A native of the Netherlands, he played with the Princeton-56ers – as they were then known – in their first three seasons in the NPSL (2005 to '07) and played with the 56ers again in 2009. Shari (Khaja) Dorresteijn was a standout athlete at Milwaukee DSHA and became a highly respected athletic trainer at UW. She had a connection to the 56ers, serving as the team's trainer for several matches in their early years.
The Dorresteijns left behind two young children, Wesley and Charlotte, who are now being raised by Shari's sister and her family in the Milwaukee area. A GoFundMe project last year raised nearly $225,000 to support the children, including donations from the inaugural memorial games.
The couple's family and friends have since started the Bram and Shari Dorresteijn Memorial Scholarship at the University of Wisconsin – funds raised Tuesday night will benefit the scholarship fund.
The event will include the NPSL team, an all-star team from the Madison Latino League, a "Friends of Bram and Shari" team – featuring many of Bram's former teammates from the Madison Soccer Association's Madison Fire – and several 56ers youth teams. Here's the schedule:
6:15-6:30 p.m. – Under-11 and Under-12 56ers boys
6:30-7:15 p.m. – Friends team vs. Latino League All-Stars
7:15-7:30 p.m. – Under-11 and Under-12 56ers girls
7:30-8:15 p.m. – 56ers NPSL vs. Latino League All-Stars
8:15-8:30 p.m. – Under-16 and Under-18 56ers boys
8:30-9:15 p.m. – 56ers NPSL vs. Friends team
If you can't attend the event, you can make a donation to the Dorresteijn Memorial Scholarship Fund online.