2011 MLS W.O.R.K.S. Humanitarian of the Year nominees
Michael Lahoud – Chivas USA
Wells Thompson – Colorado Rapids
Tommy Heinemann – Columbus Crew
Daniel Hernandez – FC Dallas
Brad Davis – Houston Dynamo
Kei Kamara – Sporting Kansas City
Sean Franklin – LA Galaxy
Zak Boggs - New England Revolution
Stephen Keel - New York Red Bulls
Danny Califf – Philadelphia Union
Jake Gleeson – Portland Timbers
Jean Alexandre – Real Salt Lake
Chris Wondolowski – San Jose Earthquakes
James Riley – Seattle Sounders FC
Demitrius Omphroy – Toronto FC
Jeb Brovsky – Vancouver Whitecaps FC
* D.C. United elected not to nominate a player for this award
Although he was sidelined with an Achilles injury, Steven Kinney made outstanding strides to improve the lives of children throughout the season. The second-year Fire defender trained as a volunteer and made weekly visits to Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago, often spending the afternoon playing bingo and cheering up patients.
Lahoud has been an inspiration to youth in Los Angeles and his native war-torn Sierra Leone (Africa). In 2011, Lahoud’s desire to bring hope to the lives of children living in Sierra Leone prompted him to launch a fundraising campaign to build schools. Lahoud has also acted as Chivas USA's ambassador for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the Goals for St. Jude program creating awareness for childhood cancer.
Thompson is a true Humanitarian for his involvement in numerous local organizations and causes, as well as for his everyday attitude and actions throughout Denver and wherever he travels. He visits hospitals, helps run youth soccer clinics, and spends his free time volunteering. Even President Barack Obama took notice, mentioning Thompson’s charitable efforts when the Rapids were in Washington D.C. in June for their Championship Visit to the White House.
Tommy Heinemann exemplifies the Crew's dedication to excellence both on and off the field. An outspoken advocate of community service, Heinemann took time to visit with pediatric hospital patients and got involved with the Down Syndrome Association's Buddy Walk during his first season in Columbus. He is also an enthusiastic participant in the Crew Soccer Foundation's GOALS for KIDS school assembly program, which focuses on using soccer as a vehicle to encourage positive life choices, and has volunteered for Faith Mission and United Way projects.
Each December, Daniel returns to his hometown where a soccer field bears his name to host a free soccer clinic for area youth. After a car accident left his brother paralyzed from the chest down, Daniel became an Ambassador for the Reeve Foundation, spreading awareness of its quality of life programs. In Dallas, Daniel volunteers year-round at the Children’s Medical Center. He often works free soccer clinics for Hispanic youth through the FC Dallas Foundation.
The club’s all-time assist leader, Brad Davis is also a leader off the field, in part through his popular Brad’s Brigade program. Davis provides tickets for at least one military family per game, while more than 1,500 service members and their families were honored on Military Appreciation Night, with Davis leading the effort. Davis is also active around the Houston community, taking the time to visit children’s hospitals, veterans’ hospitals, and military bases. Click here for more.
Kei Kamara has made a lasting impact on the KC community and his native Sierra Leone in 2011. He is heavily involved with the club’s Sporting 22 program, while also taking time to visit local schools, organize unique community events and support charitable organizations. He’s been recognized for humanitarian efforts in his homeland by continuing his innovative scholarship program, hosting charity matches and donating equipment. Visit this link to read his bio as Sporting KC Humanitarian of the Year.
Franklin is heavily involved in all of the Galaxy’s off field and charitable endeavors. As part of the preseason Galaxy Caravan, Franklin visited Children’s Hospital Los Angeles before taking part in the Galaxy Foundation’s Easter Egg Hunt and Camps for Kids while also supporting the Galaxy Drive Series with his time and personal contributions. To see photos from many of Sean’s community appearances, please click here.
Zak Boggs is making an impact solving one of humanity’s greatest concerns: cancer. He volunteers his afternoons at Children’s Hospital Boston in world-renowned researcher Dr. Marsha Moses’ lab, and his work has the potential to impact millions. Boggs helps research potential cancer diagnostics and prognostics, specifically trying to identify indicator proteins in the body. For more about Boggs, click here.
Stephen Keel has given his time unselfishly to numerous charity endeavors throughout the metro area including hosting clinics for underprivileged kids, visiting local children's hospitals and serving as a spokesman for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Stephen has recorded two public service announcements for the Muscular Dystrophy Association, attended their camps, answered phones at their telethon and even donated his game tickets to a young boy that suffers from MDA.
A leader and a role model on and off the field, Califf has dedicated himself to young people this season. Califf kicked off Delaware County’s 2011 Summer Reading Program by to more than 400 students in kindergarten through 5th grade. With his teammates, Califf visited children and elders at the Crozer Chester Medical Center. Califf uses soccer as a catalyst for social responsibility, demonstrating the importance of giving back to the fans and the community.
Goalkeeper Jake Gleeson was instrumental in the Portland Timbers’ community outreach efforts in 2011. In addition to attending numerous community appearances, Gleeson served as a mentor for nearby Hillside Soccer Club during the season and hosted a goalkeeper clinic for the club. He was actively involved in fundraising initiatives supporting Big Brothers Big Sisters, Mercy Corps and the Brian Grant Foundation.
The native Haitian continues to serve a humanitarian role for his birthplace, raising awareness for the millions of lives shattered by the recent events by taking part in charitable drives for clothing and soccer equipment, donations going directly to the Jean Alexandre Football Academy, a program he established with his father back in 2007 that helps teach teenaged youth in his hometown valuable skills both on and off the field.
Wondolowski is the National Ambassador for Street Soccer USA and pledged to donate $50 for every goal he scored in 2011 to the organization. SSUSA teaches life and job skills to the homeless. Wondo volunteered for ‘Get Earthquakes Fit’, ‘Amway Kicks For Kids’ and took a lead role in Root Beer Float Night (benefited American Red Cross and ALS associations).
Riley has integrated himself into the Seattle community through work with the Renton/Skyway Boys & Girls Club, Special Olympics, the Make-A-Wish Foundation, America SCORES Seattle, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Ronald McDonald House and Seattle Children’s Hospital, along with other organizations that he holds close to his heart. In 2011, the James Riley 7-A-Side Youth Soccer Tournament raised more than $15,000 for the Boys & Girls Club, where he is a board member, in just its second year.
Demitrius Omphroy has been a key contributor to the off field community relations aspect of Toronto FC since being drafted in January. The young defender has made a number of appearances at local schools, hospitals, and charities and has given a lot of his free time to important causes while also raising awareness about multiple sclerosis – a disease he deals with on a daily basis.
The MLS W.O.R.K.S. Humanitarian of the Month for July, Jeb Brovsky is a community leader and an ambitious agent of social change. After graduating from Notre Dame, he combined his passions to create his non-profit foundation, Peace Pandemic. The foundation aims to disband social stereotypes and connect children around the world through the commonality of playing soccer. Watch more here