Soccer league, Blast to aid Pilius children Tickets to benefit family of slain man


The soccer league in which Vitalis V. Pilius coached before he was abducted and slain has arranged with the Baltimore Blast to sell Blast tickets for a game that will benefit an education trust for his four children.

The benefit indoor soccer game will be played March 29 at 2:30 p.m. between the Blast and the Dallas Sidekicks. The Blast said it will donate $4.50 from each $10 ticket purchased through the Our Lady of Victory Soccer Club.

Mr. Pilius volunteered as a coach of the soccer club at Our Lady of Victory School in Arbutus.

Other coaches in the league, sponsored by the Catholic Youth Organization, said they were putting on the fund-raiser not only to aid the Pilius family but as a way of channeling their own upset feelings into a constructive project. "It was a feeling of 'we have to do something,' " said Susan Koches, another volunteer coach.

Mr. Pilius, 37, was found dead Feb. 14 in the basement of a vacant East Baltimore rowhouse. He had been choked and beaten to death.

Two teen-agers have been charged with killing him. They were among a gang of four who have been charged with a series of abductions.

Checks may be made payable to the OLV Soccer Club -- Pilius Trust and mailed to Our Lady of Victory Soccer Club, P.O. Box 1473, Baltimore 21203.

Drew Forrester, a Blast vice president, said his organization knew of Mr. Pilius and the soccer club because the team, and other youth teams, had played in the arena prior to Blast games. "The soccer community, whether amateur or professional, is very tight-knit," Mr. Forrester said. "We wanted to get involved."

At Our Lady of Victory School, students who played for Mr. Pilius spent two sessions with priests from the church next door, who talked over the children's thoughts on the tragedy of Mr. Pilius' death and attempted to allay fears that their fathers might meet the same fate.

"I feel angry because he was the best coach I ever had," said Brad Buckman, a third-grader who played wing on the team. "He taught me always to bring the ball down the side."

The soccer league is mobilizing players and parents to distribute fliers promoting ticket sales for the benefit. To qualify for the donation to the Pilius trust fund, tickets must be purchased through the soccer club.

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