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Kelli Hubly calls PTFC for Peace ‘once in a lifetime’ experience

The charity match between Portland Thorns and Timbers players raised more than $500,000 to benefit Ukrainian relief efforts. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

The Portland Thorns and Portland Timbers took the pitch Wednesday night for a co-ed PTFC for Peace charity match to benefit children and families affected by the war in Ukraine.

The exhibition raised more than $500,000 for UNICEF USA, including $100,000 from the Portland soccer club. Admission to Providence Park for the game was free, but donations were encouraged.

Portland spectators were treated to an entertaining contest with Team Blue, captained by Kelli Hubly of the Thorns and Diego Chara of the Timbers, taking on Team Yellow, helmed by Christine Sinclair and Sebastián Blanco.

Team Yellow ultimately came out on top, defeating Team Blue 4-3 in a lively 60-minute matchup.

“It was a super cool experience. I think the whole first half, I was smiling and laughing the whole time,” Hubly said. “This is such an amazing opportunity to get both teams together for something bigger than just soccer, and I think it makes you remember how grateful we are to be playing this sport as our job, so I think this experience was once in a lifetime and we all had so much fun.”

While Team Blue lost the charity game, Hannah Belfort was the only Thorns player to score during the contest, notching an equalizer for Team Blue early on in the match.

Captains Hubly and Sinclair entered into a friendly rivalry on the sidelines, pledging to donate $50 per goal scored by the opposing team.

“I think this was a big way for us to even do more in the community,” Hubly said.

The historic night culminated in raucous fashion, with all the players from each team taking the pitch to finish out the final minutes of the matchup.

“My favorite part of the game, I think, was the end when everyone from each team was on the field,” Hubly said. “It got a little chaotic, but I think it was just something cool to end the game with to get everyone involved and the fans really loved it I think every fan was on their feet cheering,”

Portland’s donation tally remains ongoing, with the club holding an auction through May 5.