NEW YORK — In his seven years with New York, midfielder Seth Stammler often played a support role to his bigger-named teammates. Turns out, offering support to others comes naturally to the 29-year-old native of Gahanna, Ohio.
After a 2006 visit to Haiti with Grammy Award-winning musician Wyclef Jean and then-teammates Jerrod Laventure and Jozy Altidore, Stammler started the Sporting Chance Foundation, a non-profit with the mission of providing educational funding and potable water in Haiti.
On Monday, MLS announced that Stammler has been voted the 2010 MLS W.O.R.K.S. Humanitarian of the Year. A $5,000 donation will be made to the Sporting Chance Foundation.
"Seth Stammler is being recognized as an exemplary role model within the community for his involvement in the Haitian relief efforts, for conducting countless soccer clinics, and for volunteering at his local YMCA and with Athletes for Charity," MLS said in a statement.
Sporting Chance Foundation's efforts have produced measurable results, such as a new well that provides drinking water for more than 9,000 Haitians daily and more than 60 academic scholarships granted to disadvantaged youth.
In the wake of the 2009 earthquake that devastated Haiti, Stammler's work became even more vital. He organized a Cash for Work Program that provided jobs to local Haitians who have contributed to the clean-up efforts on the island.
Earlier this season, Stammler announced that he would retire from soccer. With his minutes diminished, he was given permission by the Red Bulls to leave early in order to attend business school at the University of Chicago. He leaves MLS after making 142 appearances for New York, scoring six goals and posting 13 assists.
MLS W.O.R.K.S. Humanitarian of the Year winners:
2010: Seth Stammler – New York Red Bulls
2009: Jimmy Conrad – Kansas City Wizards; Logan Pause – Chicago Fire
2008: Jose Luis Burciaga Jr. – Colorado Rapids
2007: Diego Gutierrez – Chicago Fire
2006: Michael Parkhurst – New England Revolution
2005: Brian Kamler – Real Salt Lake
2004: Chris Henderson – Colorado Rapids
2003: Ben Olsen – D.C. United
2002: Steve Jolley – MetroStars
2001: Tim Howard – MetroStars
2000: Abdul T. Conteh – San Jose Earthquakes