CHICAGO (Feb. 1, 2022) – While the U.S. Men’s National Team closes out its winter World Cup qualifying slate in Minnesota this week, a series of U.S. Soccer community programs, presented by Allstate, will take place in the Twin Cities around USA-Honduras.
The community engagement initiatives come as part of U.S. Soccer’s “One Nation” social responsibility platform, which seeks to drive positive impact in the areas of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging.
ONE NATION GAME AMBASSADOR
U.S. Soccer will recognize former USMNT defender Tony Sanneh as its One Nation Game Ambassador at Wednesday’s match for his work in the local community through The Sanneh Foundation. Game Ambassadors are selected for their impact in the areas of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging.
Founded during his playing career in 2003, The Sanneh Foundation serves the holistic youth development needs of the increasingly diverse Twin Cities metro area. It seeks to empower youth through community-based organizations and assemble a supportive network that provides positive environments for urban youth to become positive and productive adults.
In collaboration with Black Arrow, U.S. Soccer is kicking off its Black History Month celebration with a video feature that highlights Sanneh’s work with The Sanneh Foundation. Black Arrow (FC) is the first platform in the world that focuses on the intersection of soccer and Black culture.
U.S. Soccer honored its first series of Game Ambassadors during the USMNT and U.S. Women’s National Team’s matches in June 2021. Sanneh was previously recognized as Game Ambassador in St. Paul at the USWNT’s October friendly vs. Korea Republic at Allianz Field. For the USMNT’s Jan. 27 match in Columbus, U.S. Soccer recognized Ohio Blind Soccer coach Katie Smith and former USMNT forward Dante Washington, who currently works as the Columbus Crew’s Director of Team Strategic Partnerships and Business Development.
As part of its support for The Sanneh Foundation, U.S. Soccer and Minnesota United FC are teaming up to host a Boot Drive on matchday for the Twin Cities community. Donation bins for new and gently used soccer cleats and winter boots will be located at Fan HQ outside Allianz Field on the Great Lawn (Shields Avenue and Asbury Street).
ONE NATION COMMUNITY YOUTH PROGRAM
U.S. Soccer also partnered with Minnesota United FC to host its One Nation Community Youth Program - a virtual sports industry career panel designed to inspire local young adults to dream big and pursue their goals. The event was held on Monday, Jan. 31, aiming to demonstrate to students from St. Paul public, private and charter high schools that they can achieve great things no matter their background, with the goal to broaden career horizons and build professional skills.
The Community Youth Program career panel featured a diverse slate of sports industry professionals working around the Twin Cities and for U.S. Soccer across a variety of off-the-field functions:
● Bianca Dawkins - Senior Coordinator, Social Responsibility - Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx
● Margarita Diaz - Director, IT - U.S. Soccer
● Gabe Henderson - On-Air Talent and Associate Producer - Minnesota Vikings
● Gabriela Lozada - Manager, Public Relations - Minnesota United FC
● Alexa Vickroy - Manager, Member Relations - U.S. Soccer
U.S. Soccer has 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.
The World Cup qualifying match in St. Paul will welcome back CHAMP - a custom Volkswagen telepresence robot that allows young soccer fans facing hardship to virtually participate in pregame ceremonies.
Nine-year-old U.S. Soccer superfan Oscar A. will use CHAMP to join the USMNT on the field for the National Anthem on Wednesday night. Diagnosed with Type I diabetes at age five, Oscar has never let his condition stop him from doing what he wants – he’s been playing soccer for the last three years and also cross country skis. Oscar also participates in a monthly diabetes support group at Children’s MN Hospital.