Major League Soccer unveils league-wide community outreach initiative

NEW YORK - Major League Soccer today unveiled MLS W.O.R.K.S., the first league-wide community outreach initiative dedicated to addressing important social issues affecting young people. MLS Commissioner Don Garber announced the new charitable endeavor during a teleconference call with journalists.

MLS W.O.R.K.S. will serve as a platform for both league and team philanthropic programs. The MLS W.O.R.K.S. areas of focus include:

Opportunity & Education
Respect, Fair Play & Leadership
Support of Human Rights & Diversity

"MLS W.O.R.K.S. will expand upon all of the tremendous community efforts our 13 clubs have done throughout the years," said MLS Commissioner Don Garber. "We will utilize the breadth, scope, and power of our players, our teams and the league to support a variety of philanthropic causes both here and abroad. MLS W.O.R.K.S. will be a major focus for all of us and will serve as one of the cornerstones of Major League Soccer's identity."

In development since early 2006, the year-round effort begins this month as MLS and its 13 clubs prepare to launch the League's 12th season by holding community outreach activities in every team market.

MLS W.O.R.K.S. will have a permanent home on the League's website: Information on current and future initiatives will be available, as well as educational literature that can be downloaded.

"Major League Soccer is thrilled to begin working hand-in-hand with our new philanthropic partners as we launch MLS W.O.R.K.S.," said JoAnn Neale, senior vice president of business affairs and general counsel. "Our new community outreach initiative will allow our teams and players to continue positively impacting communities worldwide."

The launch of MLS W.O.R.K.S. features four key initiatives:

  • Malaria - MLS W.O.R.K.S. is partnering with Nothing But Nets, a global grassroots campaign created by the United Nations Foundation to save lives by preventing malaria. Malaria is one of the most deadly diseases in the world, affecting more than 300 million people. It kills more than one million people annually, and in Africa, a child dies every 30 seconds from malaria. The solution is simple. A $10 donation goes directly toward the purchase, distribution, and education about the proper use of an insecticide-treated bed net that can prevent this deadly disease. MLS W.O.R.K.S. will be raising awareness and participating in a broad campaign to raise funds to fight malaria. MLS intends to mobilize the league's clubs, players and fans, along with the entire youth soccer community, to support the fight against malaria.
  • Human Rights - MLS W.O.R.K.S. has partnered with the America's Schools Program to promote awareness of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights. Born out of the atrocities and enormous loss of life during World War II, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was created by the United Nations to provide a common understanding of what everyone's rights are. It forms the basis for a world built on freedom, justice and peace. MLS will conduct a grassroots awareness campaign of human rights issues in-stadium and on national MLS game broadcasts by airing public service announcements containing educational information on the articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
  • Right To Play - MLS W.O.R.K.S. is partnering with Right To Play, headed by four-time Olympic gold medalist Johann Koss, to create awareness and raise funds for Right To Play. Right To Play is an athlete-driven international humanitarian organization that uses sport and play in 22 countries as a tool for development of children and youth in the most disadvantaged areas of the world. MLS W.O.R.K.S. will be auctioning off game worn jerseys and promoting the partnership in-stadium and on, as well as other exciting initiatives to come.
  • Healthy Halftime Snacks - The MLS W.O.R.K.S. initiative, Healthy Halftime Snacks™, provides nutritional guidance for young athletes. Healthy Halftime Snacks is being developed by experts from the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University. The objective of Healthy Halftime Snacks™ is to provide tools for parents, coaches and kids to maximize health and athletic performance. The one-page document will offer suggested meals and snacks in a simple and easy to read format. Literature will be available for download from the MLS W.O.R.K.S. website. All of the literature will also be provided to our partners in the youth soccer community.