CHICAGO (February 1, 2022) – As the U.S. Men’s National Team wraps up its Winter World Cup qualifying slate in Minnesota this week, a series of American football community programs, presented by Allstate, will take place in the Twin Cities around from the United States and Honduras.
Community engagement initiatives are part of US Soccer “A nation” social responsibility platform, which seeks to generate positive impact in the areas of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging.
ONE NATION GAME AMBASSADOR
US Soccer will recognize former USMNT defender Tony Sanneh as its One Nation Game Ambassador during Wednesday’s game 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 development needs of young people in the increasingly diverse Twin Cities metropolitan area. It aims to empower young people through community organizations and build a support network that provides positive environments for urban youth to grow into positive and productive adults.
In conjunction with Black Arrow, US Soccer kicks off its celebration of Black History Month with a video feature that highlights Sanneh’s work with the Sanneh Foundation. Black Arrow (FC) is the world’s first platform that focuses on the intersection of football and black culture.
US Soccer honored its first set of Game Ambassadors at USMNT and U.S. Women’s National Team matches in June 2021. Sanneh was previously recognized as a St. October of the USWNT against the Republic of Korea at Allianz Field. For the January 27 USMNT game in Columbus, US Soccer recognized Ohio Blind Soccer coach Katie Smith and former USMNT forward Dante Washington, who currently works as Director of Strategic Partnerships and business development of the Columbus team.
As part of its support of the Sanneh Foundation, US Soccer and Minnesota United FC are teaming up to host a game day Boot Drive for the Twin Cities community. Donation bins for new and lightly used football cleats and winter boots will be located at fan headquarters outside Allianz Field on the Great Lawn (Shields Avenue and Asbury Street).
ONE NATION COMMUNITY YOUTH PROGRAM
US Soccer has 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 Monday, January 31, with the goal of demonstrating to students from St. Paul’s public, private, and charter high schools that they can achieve great things, no matter their background, with the goal of broaden their career horizons and acquire professional skills.
The Community Youth Program Career Panel included a diverse list of sports industry professionals working in the Twin Cities and for American football in a variety of off-field roles:
● Bianca Dawkins – Senior Coordinator, Social Accountability – Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx
● Margarita Diaz – Director, IT – American Football
● Gabe Henderson – On-Air Talent and Associate Producer – Minnesota Vikings
● Gabriela Lozada – Manager, Public Relations – Minnesota United FC
● Alexa Vickroy – Manager, Member Relations – US Soccer
US 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 qualifier in St. Paul will once again host CHAMP – a personalized Volkswagen telepresence robot that allows struggling young football fans to take part in pre-match ceremonies virtually.
Nine-year-old football super fan 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 the age of five, Oscar has never let his condition stop him from doing what he wants – he has been playing soccer for three years and also cross-country skiing. Oscar also attends a monthly diabetes support group at Children’s MN Hospital.