CHICAGO (Nov. 10, 2017) – Former U.S. Women’s National Team player and U-20 Women’s National Team captain Joanna Lohman will travel to three cities in the Ivory Coast as part of the U.S. State Department and U.S. Soccer Sport Envoy Program. A culmination of a project that began in January 2017, Lohman will participate in soccer festivals that promote peace, tolerance for diversity and fair play.
"It is an honor to work with U.S. Soccer and the Department of State as a Sports Envoy and have the opportunity to use my life-long passion as a vehicle for social change,” said Lohman. “Soccer, the beautiful game, is the most popular sport in the world and has the unique capacity to break down barriers and even the playing field.”
Lohman will participate in the third phase of a program that has been in place in Côte D’Ivoire since January, during which National Champions selected from a pool of participants traveled throughout the country and internationally. During the upcoming festivals, Lohman, the young Champions and former Ivorian professional and national team players will conduct workshops to foster further outreach and development.
During Phase I of the project, two-day soccer camps were held in six cities or towns across the country. National Champions were selected from each based on criteria related to their ability to demonstrate the values of tolerance, respect for diversity, fair play and teamwork. In Phase II, the National Champions visited the United States.
“Over my years of sports diplomacy work, I have traveled the world building bridges to a diverse background of people,” said Lohman. “These bridges connect and empower communities that would otherwise be isolated. I am so excited to travel to Cote d'Ivoire to teach, learn, and grow as a human being and help to emphasize the power of social cohesion."
In partnership with the U.S. State Department, U.S. Soccer players, coaches and administrators have visited more than 79 countries since 2005. The athletes have offered soccer clinics for thousands of boys, girls and coaches. Athletes and coaches use sport as a tool to teach important values and life skills such as respect, teamwork, inclusion, acknowledgement of rules, discipline, and self-confidence.