MLS WORKS Blog
Big news for Major League Soccer this week as the city of Atlanta joins the league as the 22nd franchise. Scheduled to start play in 2017, the Arthur Blank-owned club will solidify the League's presence in the southeast. Closer to home, the 2014 Don't Cross the Line PSA will begin airing on TV broadcasts and in-stadium this weekend. This years PSA features MLS players, fans, and supporters and reinforces the League's commitment to unity, respect, fair play, equality and acceptance throughout the soccer community. With a full slate of MLS matches scheduled for tomorrow, be sure to check out how our clubs gave back to their communities this week.
Only two clubs remain unbeaten as week 6 of the MLS season begins. FC Dallas welcomes the Clint Dempsey-led Seattle Sounders FC to town while Real Salt Lake travels to Philadelphia with the intent of being less than brotherly to the Union. The other storyline of the weekend is Landon Donovan’s quest to become the all-time leading goal scorer in MLS history. Although Donovan has not scored a goal since October of last year, most will agree that it is only a matter of time before the man that some feel is "the best player in MLS history" joins soccer immortality. Before we tune-in this weekend with the anticipation of history being made, take a look at some of the great work our clubs performed in the community this week.
As a prelude to the weekend, the U.S. Men’s National Team played to a 2-2 draw with our rivals to the South, Mexico. As MLS players return to compete for their clubs, many will take the pitch again for 90 minutes in a match that is anything but “Just Another Game”. Whether it be Houston vs. FC Dallas, this year’s first installment of the SuperClasico (Chivas USA vs. LA Galaxy) or an early Cascadia Cup battle (Portland vs. Seattle) all eyes will be focused on Major League Soccer action this weekend with not only three points on the line, but also bragging rights. As our League rivals prepare to do battle on the pitch, check out how they served the communities in which they play this week.
This weekend, MLS players across the League wore black #Kuykenstrong armbands in memory of Shawn Kuykendall, a former MLS player who died of a rare form of cancer (Thymus Cancer) earlier this year.
Drafted by D.C. United in 2005, Kuykendall spent two seasons in the League playing for D.C. and the New York Red Bulls. After his playing career Shawn returned to his alma mater, American University, as an assistant coach. Before his untimely death, Kuykendall worked as the Director of Player Development for Montgomery Soccer Inc., a youth soccer program in Maryland.
Although players in every MLS Stadium honored Shawn this weekend, support for the former MLS player began after he was diagnosed last year. On seperate occasions players wore t-shirts branded with #Kuykestrong during pre-game warmups and post-game interviews. Shawn's former coaches at American Universty shaved their heads in a show of solidarity while youth leagues hosted fundraisers to assist him in his fight.
For more information about Shawn and how to support the Kuykenstrong Foundation, visit www.Kuykendall.com.
As a talent-laden and MLS-heavy US Men’s National team prepares for a friendly versus Mexico this week, Major League Soccer enters week 4 of its regular season. Although more and more talk focuses on the World Cup in Brazil, MLS clubs are focused on the task at hand – a fast start. Our two Texas clubs have done just that as they both sit atop the standings of their respective conferences heading into this weekend’s action. Before we find out whether or not Houston and Dallas FC continue their strong play, learn a little about the work our clubs have done in the community this week.
Join Major League Soccer in our League-wide efforts to support the American Red Cross and help those affected by the devastating landlside in the state of Washington. The Red Cross responded immediately, quickly opening and staffing shelters, handing out meals and snacks, activating Safe and Well to connect families who are still searching for loved ones, and staffing shelters and resource centers with Mental Health volunteers to help all affected cope with the tragic events.
Seattle Sounders FC will partner with the American Red Cross to collect donations for disaster relief this Saturday, March 29 at CenturyLink Field prior to the first kick of the Sounders FC versus Columbus Crew match. Volunteers from American Red Cross will collect donations at various gates along Occidental Avenue and throughout the stadium.
The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation and Hanauer Family Foundation will match donations collected on Saturday up to $15,000.
To donate, visit http://www.redcross.org/mls-pub, call 1-800-RED-CROSS, or text the word REDCROSS to 90999.
Visit our Disaster Relief Page to learn more.
Following a poor showing in the CONCACAF Champions League earlier this week, our clubs return to MLS action this weekend. As players continue the early-season process of learning different systems, meshing with new teammates and indoctrinating rookies, MLS fans and supporters are starting to learn what this season might have in store for the club they follow. Coaches must tinker with lineups and club staff members are busy planning for the season. Although there is a back to business mentality in 19 cities across the U.S. and Canada which focuses mainly on the pitch, all of our clubs have begun to re-engage with the communities in which they compete. Take a moment to learn about some of the philanthropic work our clubs have already done this year.
For more community news from around the league, visit the MLS WORKS news archive.
On Wednesday, in conjunction with Seattle Sounders FC and Sound Wave, MLS WORKS unveiled brand new renovations to the music room of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Bellevue Teen Center.
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Bellevue was founded in 1952 with one clubhouse in downtown Bellevue. Since its inception the Club has provided the young people of their community with something they need and want most: a safe environment where adults respect and listen to them; a place where they can have fun.
Currently, the Club operates 11 sites within the City of Bellevue including 6 Clubhouses, 3 sites in elementary schools and 2 dedicated Teen Centers.
One of the Teen Centers (a.k.a "The Club") is home to a music room that before Wednesday lacked proper soundproofing and equipment. As local teen bands perfected their sound it was difficult for other Club members to participate in alternate programming in the Club. For two years, Boys & Girls Clubs staff members pleaded with the Club's leadership for a solution to the issue.
Enter longtime partner, Seattle Sounders FC. When the Sounders, who two years ago dedicated a new computer lab to the Club, heard about the issue they vowed to assist. And what better time to do so than leading up to the start of the 2014 MLS regular season.
As they prepare for their match on Saturday against Sporting Kansas City, midfielders Brad Evans, Andy Rose and forward Lamar Neagle reinforced their club's committment to the Greater Seattle area by surprising the Bellevue youth with the newly renovated music room.
The day began with an inspiring performance by Sound Wave, the official band of Seattle Sounders FC. Following the unveiling of the Club's new music studio which will allow local youth to develop and advance their musical talents, the players stuck around to sign autographs and have a jam session with Sound Wave and one of the club's teen bands.
Major League Soccer is committed to supporting the communities where we live and play our games, and to providing an environment in which our staff, clubs, players, partners and supporters are treated with dignity and respect. We will not tolerate discrimination, bias, prejudice or harassment of any kind.
This Wednesday, March 5, marks the annual day of awareness for Spread the Word to End the Word. The campaign encourages people to create communities of respect and inclusion by eliminating derogatory language from their vocabulary, including the use of the R-word (“Retard”). Join MLS and Special Olympics North America to create communities of inclusion for people with intellectual disabilities. Pledge Respect through your words and actions…Pledge now!
Click here to learn more about the campaign or find Spread the Word fact sheets, graphics, videos and merchandise.
Major League Soccer is proud to support the R-Word campaign and urges you to take a stand against discrimination of any kind. Join us and Take a Stand for Soccer. Learn more about our efforts to promote acceptance, inclusion and fair play. Don’t Cross the Line!
Major League Soccer is committed to supporting youth programs that encourage children to live a healthy active lifestyle.
Earlier today, Philadelphia Union Defender Ray Gaddis and MLS Draft prospects, Andre Blake (Goalkeeper, University of Connecticut), Schillo Tshuma (Midfielder, University of Maryland), Marlon Hairston (Midfielder, University of Louisville), Patrick Mullins (Forward, University of Maryland), Damion Lowe (Defender, University of Hartford) and Steve Birnbaum (Defender, University of California) visited Cristo Rey Philadelphia High School to meet with students and discuss the keys to leading an active and healthy lifestyle, in support of the Vetri Foundation's vision of “healthy body + health mind = health living”.
Founded in 2008 by acclaimed chef Marc Vetri and restauranteur Jeff Benjamin, the Vetri Foundation for children works to help kids experience the connection between healthy eating and healthy living. When kids make the connection between the two, they can make a better decision about their own health while influencing their families, and they become a voice for better choices in their communities.
The visit began when the top MLS SuperDraft prospects joined Cristo Rey students for a healthy lunch, which included a converstion about the importance of consuming healthy, well-balanced meals. Following lunch, the next generation of MLS soccer kicked the ball around with the high school students and discussed healthy lifestyle habits during gym class.
Today's visit, hosted by MLS WORKS, the charitable arm of Major League Soccer, and the Philadelphia Union, also highlighted the 2014 MLS SuperDraft, presented by Adidas.