Cleats for a Cause

Author: Liam Coolican

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Fans closely watching Notre Dame’s victory over UNLV on Oct. 22 may have noticed the Irish wearing unique cleats. Notre Dame partnered with Under Armor to create the initiative, “Cleats for a Cause.” 

Each player wore cleats supporting one of four local charities: the South Bend Center for the Homeless, the Boys & Girls Club of Saint Joseph County, the YMCA of Greater Michiana and Cultivate Food Rescue. After the game, the cleats were auctioned off with proceeds going directly to the charities. 

The colorful shoes were hand painted by artists Mo Gafar and David Zambrano. The two artists, who were honored on the field during the game, have partnered in the past with various college and professional programs and players, including NBA star Stephen Curry. 

Head coach Marcus Freeman’s cleats, which he wore in support of the Center for the Homeless, sold for $7,000. Junior tight end Michael Mayer’s cleats sold for $4,700 to support the YMCA, followed by sophomore running back Audric Estime, whose cleats raised $2,800 for Cultivate Food Rescue. 

“Our program is very excited about this initiative because we are very active at these four local charities,” said grad student linebacker and captain Jack Kiser said in a press release. “Giving back to our community is a priority as a student-athlete at Notre Dame. We are grateful for the chance to team up with Under Armor to be among the first programs in college football to give back in this way, while also helping our community.” 

In addition to raising thousands of dollars for the charities, the cleats also seemed to help Notre Dame on the field, as they defeated UNLV 44-21 for their largest margin of victory this year.