Audi Celebrating Impact

Colorado Rapids goalkeeper Zack Steffen drives community forward


Since his return to MLS, using his platform to give back to the community has remained a priority for Colorado Rapids goalkeeper Zack Steffen.

In a recent piece in The Players' Tribune, the 29-year-old backstop shed light on the causes that are close to his heart, recounting the inspiration that struck when he joined the mass protests of social injustice that took place in 2020. At the time, Steffen was playing abroad in Düsseldorf, Germany, in the midst of lockdowns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Along with former Columbus Crew teammate Alex Crognale, Steffen set up the VOYCENOW Foundation, which aims to provide support with exercise, education, healthy habits and mental health to kids from low-income families.

"During that crazy time when everyone was still stuck inside, our plan was to bring together a community of athletes dedicated to speaking up on injustice and inequality," Steffen explained in The Players' Tribune. "And I am so proud to tell you that it was not hard at all to find other athletes who were keen on becoming advocates for positive change.

"It’s also about just giving them the attention they deserve, while hopefully trying to empower them with the belief that with hard work and the right tools, they can be the best versions of themselves."

His work with VOYCENOW also led to Steffen partnering with the Boys & Girls Club of America, which works to provide a safe space and extra support for kids across the country. Steffen has worked with kids at clubs in Philadelphia, Columbus, Birmingham and now Denver.

To help support the cause, Audi’s Goals Drive Progress fund has made a $40,000 contribution.

"For these kids, it can be a powerful thing to meet a Black athlete who can talk to them about success. It’s all about being what you can see, right?" Steffen wrote. "But it’s not just time and attention that they need. They also desperately need resources – school supplies, food, books, computers … you name it – and that stuff gets expensive.

"...That’s why the $40,000 from a major MLS sponsor like Audi’s Goals Drive Progress fund is so crucial. It’s incredible, honestly. It’s the most we’ve ever received at VOYCENOW and will be put to good use across the Boys & Girls Clubs in my new home of Denver."

It's work that Steffen said he plans on continuing as he navigates his first season back stateside following his January signing with Colorado. Steffen won the MLS Goalkeeper of the Year Award in 2018 before signing with EPL powerhouse Manchester City in 2019. He subsequently did loan stints with Düsseldorf and Championship side Middlesbrough before signing with Colorado.

"I’ve been away from home for a long time, so coming back to the States and reconnecting with family and the people of this country has been amazing. I want to keep giving as much of myself to the community in any way I can," Steffen said.

"I’m also a father now myself. My hope for the next four years is that I can pass on the love and support to my daughter that my parents gave me, and that she gets to grow up with the chance of being the best version of herself in a society that loves and accepts her no matter her race, gender, background or anything else."

Audi’s immense commitment to community projects will continue to be highlighted as part of the end-of-year player recognitions through the return of the Audi Goals Drive Progress Impact Award. A selection committee – comprised of current players, technical staff, front office staff and media members – will consider current MLS players who are dedicated to enriching lives and improving communities across the league. A $150,000 contribution will be made to the player’s charity of choice and presented to the winner during MLS Cup presented by Audi.