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Former U.S. Soccer Men's And Women's National Team Players Head to Côte D'Ivoire As Department of State Sports Envoy Program Continues

Former U.S. MNT Goalkeeper Juergen Sommer And Former U.S. WNT Defender Linda Hamilton
To Conduct Soccer Workshops For 400 Youth

CHICAGO (May 15, 2010) – Former U.S. Men’s National Team goalkeeper Juergen Sommer and former U.S. Women’s National Team defender Linda Hamilton will head to Cote D’Ivoire today, Saturday, May 15, as U.S. Department of State Sports Envoys. Sommer and Hamilton will conduct eight clinics in eight cities over the course of five days, reaching as many as 400 boys and girls ranging from 11 to 17 years old.

U.S. Soccer, in conjunction with the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, SportsUnited Office, develops international sports exchanges as a way to promote mutual understanding with and spark dialogue with children from around the world.

Throughout the program, Sommer and Hamilton will conduct eight clinics in Yopougon, Abobo, Marcory, Port Bouet, Bingerville, Koumassi, Grand Bassam and Anyama for 50 youth at a time.

“I think it’s a program that is very fun and worthwhile and I’m grateful to be a part of it,” said Hamilton, who traveled to the Philippines in 2007 along with Tiffany Roberts. “We are going over and have an opportunity to represent U.S. Soccer as well as the United States and with the World Cup bids pending, I think it’s a great chance for everyone to see what kind of things the U.S. is capable of providing and why a World Cup could be good for us again.”

At the clinics, Sommer and Hamilton will not only discuss soccer, specifically, but also how playing sports can help the participants stay active and healthy throughout their life. Sports Envoys also stress the importance of hard work as it relates to soccer, as well as success and achievement in the classroom and other areas of life.

“I think what’s important is for Linda Hamilton and myself to put a face on U.S. Soccer and the United States in a very favorable light for coaching and educating kids about the sport and how to get more enjoyment out of the sport,” Sommer said. “We’ll talk about sportsmanship and the way we train our athletes here to compete not only on the field but off the field, too, how to carry yourself, respect for the game and respect for your teammates and coaches. We’re just excited to get in there and work with the kids and give them an opportunity to enjoy the game and share with them culturally how we do it here in the U.S. and also to learn about their culture and how they enjoy the game.”

Sommer earned eight caps as a goalkeeper from 1994-1998, and was a member of both the 1994 and 1998 U.S. FIFA World Cup squads. Hamilton, who earned 71 caps for the U.S. between 1987 and 1995, was a member of the team that won the inaugural FIFA Women’s World Cup in 1991 and the team that finished second in Norway in 1995.

U.S. Soccer has participated in the State Department’s Sports Envoy program since 2006. In that time, players and coaches traveled to Bahrain, Nigeria, South Africa and Uganda. In 2008, Lorrie Fair and Jay Miller traveled to Morocco while Cindy Parlow and Jeff Pill traveled to El Salvador. Other past participants in the program include Marcelo Balboa, Glenn “Mooch” Myernick, Shannon MacMillan, Curt Onalfo, Phil Wheddon, and Amanda Cromwell.