CHICAGO (June 20, 2018) – The U.S. Women’s and Men’s National Team autographed, game-issued jerseys from their matches in June are now available via an online auction with all net proceeds going to benefit the You Can Play Project.
Both teams donned rainbow-numbered jerseys in recognition of LGBTQ Pride Month for their respective pairs of matches. In cooperation with the Women’s National Team Players Association and the U.S. National Soccer Team Players Association, U.S. Soccer is offering one jersey per player at auction to support The You Can Play Project, an organization dedicated to ensuring equality, respect and safety for all athletes, coaches, and fans without regard for sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
The online charity auction has begun and will conclude at 10 a.m. ET on Friday, June 29. The bidding will start at $300 for each jersey.
The U.S. WNT players wore the pride-inspired jerseys against China PR on June 7 in Sandy, Utah, and on June 12 in Cleveland. The U.S. MNT players wore the pride-inspired jerseys on June 2 vs. Ireland in Dublin and on June 9 vs. France in Lyon. The jerseys from the first game of each U.S. team's two-match set are available through the auction.
Last year's jersey auction to benefit the You Can Play Project raised more than $65,000 combined between the WNT and MNT jerseys.
In addition this year, fans can purchase jerseys customized with their choice of rainbow numbers through store.ussoccer.com, as well as a scarf or hat featuring a rainbow “ONE NATION.” One-hundred percent of net proceeds on the sale of these limited-edition items will also be donated to The You Can Play Project.
The “ONE NATION.” design was inspired by U.S. Soccer’s commonly used “ONE NATION. ONE TEAM.” mantra and draws from U.S. Soccer’s belief in promoting a culture of diversity, inclusivity and global connectivity as a country and fanbase.
- READ MORE: A New Harkes for America's Oldest Cup
- READ MORE: Atlanta United Set to Break USOC attendance Record
- READ MORE: A (Soccer) Star is Born in Nashville
- READ MORE: Manotas sends Dynamo past MNUFC, into Quarters
- READ MORE: Bob Bradley & LAFC: #UpForTheCup
- READ MORE: Dynamo Memo & the Need to be Ready
- READ MORE: Holders SKC & Philadelphia Union through to Quarters
- READ MORE: Blanco Strike Sinks Galaxy; Sends Timbers to Last Eight
Elliott only took over the reigns of Republic FC from last year’s coach Paul Buckle this February, but his understanding of the U.S. Open Cup system and what the tournament offers has been an aid in preparing his players for each match so far. “Pretty much every country has a knockout tournament and it’s great,” said Elliott, a native of New Zealand who played seven years in MLS and two years in England with Fulham. It’s a chance to compete against teams that you’re supposedly better than. It’s a chance to compete against teams who are supposedly better than you. It’s a fantastic tournament to be a part of.”
(Elliott - on the right - in action for New Zealand in international competition)
“Our outlook changes throughout the tournament,” added Elliott matter-of-factly. “The first round is tricky. You’ve got to keep yourself motivated. Most of the time, we’ll be playing against a team from a lower league or even an amateur team. And if you don’t take that seriously, or if you don’t approach it the right way, teams can upset you. We had a little trouble in our first game [against Premier Development League amateurs San Francisco City FC, after conceding a soft goal. We won 3-1, but we put ourselves under unnecessary pressure.”
For Elliott the Cup has a special allure. “I think we’re all taken by the romance of the Cup competition. Teams rise, players rise to that [occasion]. In that sense, it’s absolutely an opportunity. It’s a chance for us to shine, just as it is for LAFC,” he said. “It’s their first year and I’m sure they want to win silverware just as badly as we do. Any professional player or team would want to show what they’ve got and the Open Cup gives us a great chance to do that.”
(Jeremy Hall of SacRep is a solid veteran at the heart of defense)
His players will have every opportunity to show their stuff when play kicks off at Banc of California Stadium Wednesday night, in the last of the 2018 tournament’s eight Round of 16 games. Will he have to make some changes, perhaps rotate players? Of course. But that’s something Elliott apparently relishes. “Because of the USL [United Soccer League] schedule and the way the Open Cup is scheduled, you have to be prepared to rotate. You have to be ready to have everybody play, and that’s a good thing. These guys want to play and I feel that’s a real positive. They’ve all gotten a chance to play a lot in the past few weeks and they’ve stepped up.”
There’s a quiet confidence about the Republic FC manager, and his realistic approach seems reassuring, as if his wealth of experience helps translate to this team’s measured performances. “LAFC play a bit differently than Seattle and we’re going on the road. We have to really bed down what we’re about and make sure everyone knows their roles and then away we go. Everybody is aware of what they need to do. We have some players who have Cup experience, but we’re not relying on any one person.”
Old Campaigners Lead the Way
When asked about the nature of being an underdog in this competition, Elliott – a man who knows those rough-and-tumble Cup days as well as anyone –refuses to be painted with that brush. “How do we approach it? We’re a USL team playing against an MLS team. Do we consider ourselves underdogs? Well, we are playing away from home, against a team in a higher league. I think it will be a tough test.”
(Sacramento in Round-of-16 action against LA Galaxy in 2017 - it's where their Cup run ended)