CHICAGO (March 25, 2022) – While the U.S. Men’s National Team aims to take a major step towards World Cup qualification this weekend vs. Panama in Orlando, Fla., a series of U.S. Soccer community programs, presented by Allstate, will take place in the city around the team’s final home qualifying match.
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 Omaha, Neb.-area high school student and cancer patient Mason Ogle as its One Nation Game Ambassador at Sunday’s match. Ogle is a massive soccer fan and despite extensive chemotherapy and a prosthetic knee, has managed to stay on the pitch with his high school soccer team.
Ogle was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer, at age 13 and treatment required limb salvage surgery plus eight months of chemotherapy. Further scans detected tumors in his lungs, requiring surgery to remove the diseased tissue and more chemotherapy. Tumors were detected again last summer, but Ogle has still enjoyed a very active senior year at Underwood High School in western Iowa. He remains a frequent participant at Eagles soccer practice for small-sided scrimmages and shootarounds and is considering playing goalkeeper this spring to see more time on the field. In addition, he manages the cross country team, lifts weights and helps run lighting for the drama club.
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. For the USMNT’s Feb. 2 match in St. Paul, Minn, former U.S. defender Tony Sanneh was recognized for his work with The Sanneh Foundation, which serves the youth development needs of the increasingly diverse Twin Cities metro area.
COACH FOR COMMUNITY, PRESENTED BY ALLSTATE
U.S. Soccer will partner with the Florida Youth Soccer Association (FYSA) and Florida Rush to run a free Coach for Community event, presented by Allstate, at the National Training Center in Clermont, Fla. on Saturday, March 26. The event includes both a classroom presentation and an on-field session. Former USMNT forward Eddie Johnson will help run the course.
In the United States, many youth coaches do not have access to adequate training. U.S. Soccer has established 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 in 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 and FYSA 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.
ONE NATION COMMUNITY YOUTH PROGRAM, PRESENTED BY ALLSTATE
Together with Orlando City SC and the Parramore Kidz Zone program, U.S. Soccer hosted its One Nation Community Youth Program, presented by Allstate - a sports industry career panel designed to inspire local young adults to dream big and pursue their goals on Friday, March 25.
Held at Jones High School, a historically African-American school in downtown Orlando, the program aimed to demonstrate to students from the Parramore Kidz Zone, the city’s highest poverty neighborhood, 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 Orlando and for U.S. Soccer across a variety of off-the-field functions:
● Shalisa Griffin - Senior Director of Business Development and Events - Greater Orlando Sports Commission
● Gisela Moreno - Events Coordinator - U.S. Soccer
● Matt Stone - Manager of Creative & Brand - Orlando City SC/Orlando Pride
● Alexa Vickroy - Manager, Member Relations - U.S. Soccer
● Keshia Woodie - Senior Account Manager, Corporate Partnership - Orlando Magic
● Kamryn Young - CEO & Founder - The Kickoff Experience
The World Cup qualifying match in Orlando will feature the return of CHAMP - a custom Volkswagen telepresence robot that allows young soccer fans facing hardship to virtually participate in pregame ceremonies.
Brothers and U.S. Soccer superfans Elijah (age 13) and Jeremiah (11) will tour the USMNT locker room and watch the team warm-up from the sideline on Sunday night. Both live with autism and have found an important outlet through soccer. Elijah loves to play and being on the field fills him with confidence, while Jeremiah loves to cheer him on from the sideline. The Autism Society of Greater Orlando has helped the boys do the things they love in safe and sensory-cognizant ways.
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.