CHICAGO (Oct. 6, 2021)-- As the U.S. Men’s National Team resumes its World Cup qualifying quest this week, U.S. Soccer will host a number of experiences for fans in Austin, Texas around USA-Jamaica, the USMNT’s first World Cup qualifier to be played in Texas. The U.S. kicks off its second of seven home World Cup qualifying matches on Thursday, Oct. 7 at Q2 Stadium (7:30 p.m. ET; ESPN2, Univision, UniMas).
See below for all of the activities taking place in Austin:
The “Only Forward” Art Series continues in Austin with artwork from local artist FeeBee. Working with artists around each home World Cup qualifying match, the art series brings the spirit of the “Only Forward” campaign to life by highlighting the young, diverse and global-minded nature of the USMNT as it looks to tackle the challenge of World Cup qualifying.
The art will be featured in a number of ways around gameday. All fans attending the match will have the opportunity to download an NFT of the art from their seat at Q2 Stadium. Exclusive merchandise featuring FeeBee’s piece is available via the NTWRK app and posters of the artwork can be purchased at the downtown Austin FC store (506 Congress Avenue) and the mobile U.S. Soccer Fan Studio during the U.S. Soccer x Budwesier Kickoff Party.
U.S. SOCCER X BUDWEISER KICK-OFF PARTY - OCT. 6
U.S. Soccer and Budweiser will host fans in Austin at the U.S. Soccer X Budweiser Kick-off Party on Oct. 6 at 6 p.m. CT, the night before USA-Jamaica. Fans can look forward to music, giveaways, an appearance from legendary USMNT goalkeeper Kasey Keller at Lustre Pearl Rainey (94 Rainey Street). Those interested in attending can RSVP for the event here.
FAN HQ - OCT. 7
Before the USMNT takes the field on Thursday night, Fan HQ will get the party started at Calle Norte and H-E-B Plaza outside Q2 Stadium. The pregame event will feature games, music from DJ Flipside, giveaways and more. Fans can gear up with U.S. Soccer merchandise at the Visa Fan Studio.
BIOSTEEL AND GOGO SQUEEZ GIVEAWAY
All fans attending USA-Jamaica will have the chance to try free samples of BioSteel beverages at Fan HQ and GoGo squeeZ snack pouches upon leaving the stadium.
GAME AMBASSADOR - VIRGINIA CUMBERBATCH
U.S. Soccer will recognize Austin-based storyteller, racial justice educator and organizer Virginia Cumberbatch as its One Nation Game Ambassador in Austin. Game Ambassadors are selected for their impact in the areas of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging. Cumberbatch currently works as a consultant, helping organizations explore their role in diversity, equity and inclusion, and co-founded Rosa Rebellion in 2018 as a platform for creative activism by and for women of color. Her work in community advocacy and creative activism seeks to elevate the voices of people of color.
COACH FOR COMMUNITY - OCT. 8 AND 9
U.S. Soccer will partner with South Texas Soccer Association, Austin FC and 4ATX, Austin FC’s community engagement branch, to run a free Coach for Community event. A 90-minute Zoom classroom session will be held on Oct. 8, followed by an on-field session at the St. David’s Performance Center on Oct. 9.
In the United States, many youth coaches do not have access to adequate training. U.S. Soccer has introduced the Coach for Community program to serve not only as an introduction to teaching the game, but also to improve sporting experiences within communities, particularly underserved areas that may lack access and training for coaches, players and volunteers.
Coach for Community participants will learn about creating a positive, fun and player-centered environment using U.S. Soccer’s Play-Practice-Play methodology. U.S. Soccer, STYSA and Austin FC welcome individuals (coaches, volunteers, parents, etc.) of all levels who are interested in coaching children and helping make youth soccer a better experience to register here.
Each individual that attends the Coach for Community clinic will also receive a $25 voucher to access one of U.S. Soccer’s Grassroots License Courses, free of charge.
The World Cup qualifier in Austin will see the return of CHAMP - a custom Volkswagen telepresence robot that will allow young soccer fans facing hardship to virtually participate in pregame ceremonies.
Eleven-year-old U.S. Soccer fan Wes Archibald will use CHAMP to join the USMNT on the field for the National Anthem. Hailing from San Francisco, Wes has congenital heart defects, but has played soccer, his favorite sport, since he was a toddler. His coaches are consistently amazed by his perseverance and determination as Wes never gives up on or off the field despite his medical challenges.
U.S. Soccer is partnering with KultureCity to make the gameday experience sensory inclusive. KultureCity is a leading non-profit recognized nationwide for using its resources to revolutionize and affect change in the community for those with sensory needs, not just those with autism. “In an effort to enhance their gameday experience, fans with sensory needs will be able to check out sensory bags at no cost during the match.”
U.S. Soccer has also partnered with Vote.org to drive voter registration for important state and local elections, highlighting the initiative with in-game video board graphics and stadium announcements.
COMMUNITY YOUTH PROGRAM - OCT. 5
Together with Breakthrough Central Texas, U.S. Soccer presented the One Nation Community Youth Program on Tuesday, a virtual sports industry career panel designed to inspire local young adults to dream big and go for their goals. The program showed high school students that they can achieve great things no matter their background with the goal to broaden their career horizons and build professional skills. The career panel featured a diverse slate of sports industry professionals working in Austin across a variety of off-the-field functions.