CHICAGO – U.S. Soccer and Game Changers United, the organization’s external Advisory Council focused on advancing diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB) across all areas of American soccer, has announced the inaugural Kim Crabbe Game Changers Award.
The honor, which is named after former U.S. Women’s National Team defender Kim Crabbe, will be given to a member of the soccer community who has made a lasting impact in the areas of DEIB in a creative way while fostering long-term sustainability for the future of soccer. U.S. Soccer is now accepting nominations, which are open to anyone across the American soccer landscape who embodies the spirit of the award and exemplifies the criteria below. Nominations can be submitted HERE and the nomination window will close on Friday, November 11 at 5 p.m. CT.
“Kim is a force of life, she is just an incredible person with a huge heart and huge amount of energy,” U.S. Soccer President Cindy Parlow Cone said. “She was the first African American woman to play on the U.S. Women’s National Team, and she's still breaking down barriers and changing lives. She's working at the grassroots level now, making sure that girls have access to our game, so I think naming this award after her is really important. I hope that she inspires others how she has inspired me.”
The nomination criteria focuses on four areas. The first area will look at impact relating to positive changes for individuals, communities and society by addressing one or more social challenges of the local community. The second area will assess creativity in transforming ideas and dreams into reality by innovating to make connections that aren’t traditionally related. The third area is long-term sustainability and ensuring the impact has shown to continue over time based on project findings. The final area is about soccer, and whether the awardee has positively impacted the soccer landscape to push the sport forward.
“I hope this award will further give knowledge to those are working in the grassroots area, and understanding for those that aren't, how important it is to have such programs and to have such leaders,” Crabbe said. “It’s important to impact and to give everybody equal opportunity at this sport and have a level playing field, so I think that this award is going to really open the eyes to a lot of individuals in the sport. I hope the award recipient has a heartful drive to impact that none other has.”
Crabbe was a pioneer in women’s soccer, becoming the first African American woman to play for the USWNT in 1986. Following her two-year career with the National Team, she took up coaching and went on to serve as the Outreach Program Director for the Wilmington Hammerheads Youth Football Club, where she coaches and mentors youth players in underserved communities and has made a lasting impact on the groups she works with.
Following the impact of her program, Crabbe was named the 2021 Youth Coach of the Year by United Soccer Coaches, while also earning their Black Soccer Coaches Advocacy Group Award of Excellence in 2018. She also received the 2019 Centennial NAACP Youth Services Award in 2019.
Prior to her USWNT career, Crabbe played collegiate soccer at George Mason, where she majored in Social Work, and helped lead the team to a national championship in 1985. She was inducted into the Virginia-DC Hall of Fame in 2016 for her achievements as a player, joining the likes of USWNT icons Mia Hamm and Jill Ellis, among other notable names in American soccer.
The award recipient will be selected by Game Changers United based on nomination criteria, while the inaugural award will be presented at the U.S. Soccer Annual General Meeting dinner. The 2023 AGM is set to take place in San Diego in March 2023, with more details to be announced at a later date.
Established in January, Game Changers United is comprised of a diverse group of current and former players as well as industry professionals. GCU’s mission is to build a culture where everyone plays and every individual is welcomed, respected and valued.