From his youth soccer days in the Washington, D.C., area to a professional career that’s spanned over 160 MLS matches and counting, Jeremy Ebobisse has seen how racism impacts the sport he loves.
But the San Jose Earthquakes striker is determined to break down barriers by empowering the next generation, leading to his work with Oakland Genesis. The organization provides Bay Area children from underserved communities with free academic support and soccer instruction, shaping their lives on and off the field.
It’s in these moments that Ebobisse finds meaning and purpose
“If there’s one thing I want you to know about Oakland Genesis, it’s that these are high-character kids,” Ebobisse wrote in The Players’ Tribune. “They’re smart, they’re determined, they’re motivated. They’re growing in so many ways each and every day. And I can’t help but wonder how much impact we could have if we created these sorts of programs in every city in the U.S., starting at U-6 and going all the way to U-18. That impact, I’m here to tell you, wouldn’t just be about soccer.”
Ebobisse’s work is geared towards providing more access, inclusion and opportunity in soccer for people of all backgrounds. He’s also focused on being a consistent presence in players’ lives, not just showing face now and again.
Long-term, Ebobisse is hopeful his work can start a virtuous cycle. That’s only enhanced by Audi’s $20,000 contribution, through the Audi Goals Drive Progress fund, to Oakland Genesis in celebration of the work that both the organization and the 26-year-old do for their community.
“I truly believe this investment is going to pay off several times over in years to come,” Ebobisse wrote. “This support, it will make our game better and more inclusive. It’ll help us make sure this sport not only survives, but thrives in the coming years. And when this sport thrives, it can make all the difference in the world.”
Ebobisse added: “Let’s say it helps a bunch of kids get to college, or it takes them down a less traditional but equally impactful route... those kids, they’re going to come back. They’re going to come back at some point and they’re going to provide the basis for the next generation to have this supportive network of adults who are invested in their future.”
The Audi Goals Drive Progress initiative supports MLS athletes making an impact off the pitch through financial contributions to nonprofit organizations that create sustainable communities, foster equity and inclusion, and enrich the lives of those in need.