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Community Initiatives Take Center Stage in Orlando Ahead of 2019 ASG

NEW YORK (Monday, July 22, 2019) – MLS WORKS, Major League Soccer’s social responsibility platform will focus on implementing various initiatives and hosting community focused events in the Orlando area leading up to the MLS All-Star Game presented by Target at Exploria Stadium on Wednesday, July 31 at 8 p.m. ET.

As part of continued efforts to promote healthy, sustainable communities throughout the United States, Canada and areas in need throughout the rest of the world, MLS will offset a portion of the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with All-star week festivities (hotel accommodations, on-site transportation, staff, player, executive and MLS guest travel and stadium operations at Exploria Stadium) by purchasing 2,600 carbon offsets from a clean cookstove project in Africa that is positively impacting the lives and well-being of over 14,000 women and children. The amount of carbon offsets purchased by MLS is equivalent to the volume of carbon dioxide removed from the atmosphere by 375,000 pine trees in one year. To date, MLS has offset 22,500 tons of CO2 emissions, including club travel for the entire 2019 regular season. This is equivalent to over 61 million miles traveled by an average car.

Supporting Orlando City Foundation’s commitment to urban agriculture, MLS will invest in a community garden as part of the MLS WORKS + Target All-Star Community Day (details below). In partnership with Fleet Farming and their Edible Landscape service, a school garden will be installed at Neptune Middle School, delivering access to locally grown produce and free agricultural education resources for local school and community members on how to grow the food. As part of the initiative, two park benches produced from upcycled plastic bottles collected following game-days at Exploria Stadium will be donated and installed at the school. MLS will also provide funding for South Street Urban Farm’s education program in the Parramore area of downtown Orlando, which provides weekly opportunities for local community members to learn how to grow their own food.  

Orlando City SC and Orlando City Foundation are committed to long-term sustainability efforts to improve Orlando and the surrounding community. The club has installed infrastructure at the stadium which will collect and separate plastic waste following events at Exploria Stadium. Further reinforcing their efforts to eliminate plastic pollution, the club has announced that all plastic waste from the remainder of the season will be collected and recycled, and beginning in the 2020 season, plastic waste collected from Exploria Stadium will be upcycled to create merchandise for fans. Further details to be released from the club in the following months. In addition, plastic straws will be replaced with paper straws in select areas throughout the stadium for the All-Star Game.

The MLS All-Star Game presented by Target, will be televised domestically on FS1 and UniMás in the U.S., on TSN and TVA Sports in Canada, and in more than 170 countries around the world. Coverage begins on Univision starting at 7 p.m. ET and FOX beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET. Tickets for the 2019 MLS All-Star Game presented by Target are available for purchase at Ticketmaster.com. For more details regarding the 2019 MLS All-Star Game presented by Target, and the fan festivities leading up, visit MLSsoccer.com/All-Star.

2019 MLS-All Star Week Community Events

Saturday, July 27-Wednesday, July 31

MLS WORKS Day of Service presented by Wells Fargo
To kick off MLS All-Star week festivities, MLS WORKS, Wells Fargo, Feeding Children Everywhere, Orlando City SC and hundreds of fans will give back to the city of Orlando on Saturday, July 27 from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. at Digital HQ presented by Wells Fargo (Ace Café, 100 W. Livingston Street, Orlando, Florida 32801). Volunteers, including MLS Greats Cobi Jones and Oguchi Onyewu and eMLS competitors (Abraham Valbuena (Orlando City SC), Alan Avila (FC Dallas), Cormac Dooley (Philadelphia Union) and Gordon Thornsberry (FC Cincinnati) will help pack 100,000 healthy meals for hungry children and families living in underserved communities throughout Orlando and Central Florida – that’s four healthy meals for every seat in the Exploria Stadium. These meals, packed by over 500 volunteers, will help break the cycle of hunger and hopelessness throughout the Orlando community. Fans interested in participating in this community service event may register for a volunteer shift at MLSsoccer.com/AllStar.

MLS WORKS + Target All-Star Community Day
The MLS WORKS + Target All-Star Community Day will take place on Monday, July 29 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Neptune Middle School (2727 Neptune Road, Kissimmee, FL 34744). Free and open to the public, the event will provide community members with All-Star themed activities including soccer skills activations, music, refreshments and giveaways. Local youth can participate in age-based soccer clinics facilitated by Orlando City SC affiliated coaches. Youth may pre-register at MLSsoccer.com/allstarcommunityday. Local youth will also be on hand to seed and plant a community garden.

The festivities will kick off with executives from MLS, Orlando City SC, Target, the U.S. Soccer Foundation and the School District of Osceola County participating in a dedication ceremony to officially unveil two new soccer mini-pitches, featuring artwork from Adam Grason. MLS All-Stars including Chris Wondolowski, Andre Blake, Romain Metanire and Nico Lodeiro will serve as celebrity coaches for the youth match on the new pitches and will be available for autographs and photos with event participants.

Special Olympics Unified Sports® All-Star Match presented by MLS WORKS and ESPN
In an effort to promote an environment of social inclusion and as part of the League’s Soccer For All platform, MLS WORKS and ESPN will host the 6th Annual Special Olympics Unified Sports® All-Star Match on Wednesday, July 31. The Unified Sports All-Star soccer teams, comprised of players with intellectual disabilities (Special Olympics Athletes) and without intellectual disabilities (Unified Partners), will play an East vs. West, 11 vs. 11 competitive match at ESPN Wide World of Sports at 10 a.m. ET. The full roster was announced during the July 21 ESPN broadcast of Atlanta United vs. D.C. United and can be viewed here. MLS Greats Cobi Jones and Oguchi Onyewu will serve as celebrity coaches for the match.

The Unified Sports All-Star Match is part of the season-long Unified Exchange program and provides opportunities for Unified soccer teams to participate in a first-team MLS experience. Unified soccer teams travel to MLS markets to compete in home and away exhibition matches scheduled in conjunction with MLS club matches, and MLS Clubs provide unique experiences throughout the season, such as signing days, jersey unveils, buddy programs with MLS first-team players, and gameday recognition. The Unified Soccer Exchange Program not only provides Special Olympics athletes with top-level training and competitive experiences, but also excellent life experiences they might not otherwise engage in. The Unified Sports All-Star Match is free and open to the public. Fans interested in attending are encouraged to register for tickets online by visiting MLSsoccer.com/AllStar.

Fans are also encouraged to visit the #PlayUnifiedMLS tent at MLS Soccer Celebration presented by Tide to take the Inclusion Pledge and “High Five for Inclusion” to help raise awareness for Special Olympics Unified Sports and to show their commitment of overcoming the fear of difference and replacing it with the power of inclusion.

Grand Prize Winner Announcement for the 2019 MLS WORKS Community MVP Contest presented by Wells Fargo
MLS WORKS and Wells Fargo have teamed up to recognize individuals using soccer to make a difference in their community. Throughout June, MLS fans had the opportunity to nominate individuals who are building better communities. Twenty-four finalists have been chosen, one representing each MLS club.

The Grand Prize winner, voted on by fans, will be announced on-field during halftime of the 2019 MLS All-Star Game presented by Target at Exploria Stadium on July 31, and will receive a $25,000 donation for their selected charity.

View full list of finalists here.

Calendar of Events:
A condensed version of the above events surrounding the MLS All-Star Game presented by Target is detailed below. For more information, visit MLSsoccer.com/AllStar. All times listed below are Eastern Standard time.

Date

Activation

Location

Time

Ticketing Information

Saturday, July 27

MLS WORKS Day of Service presented by Wells Fargo

MLS Digital HQ presented by Wells Fargo:

 

Ace Café

100 W Livingston Street Orlando, FL 32801

10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Free – Fans may register online for a volunteer shift by visiting MLSsoccer.com/AllStar

Monday, July 29

MLS WORKS + Target All-Star Community Day

Neptune Middle School

 

2727 Neptune Road, Kissimmee, FL 34744

 

1pm - 4:00 p.m.

This event is free and open to the public

Wednesday, July 31

Special Olympics Unified Sports All-Star Match presented by MLS WORKS and ESPN

ESPN World Wide World of Sports

10 a.m. ET

This event is free and open to the public

Wednesday, July 31

Community MVP Award Presented by Wells Fargo at the MLS All-Star Game presented by Target

Exploria Stadium

Halftime

Tickets are available for purchase at Ticketmaster.com

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About Major League Soccer
Headquartered in New York City, Major League Soccer features 27 clubs throughout the United States and Canada, including future expansion teams in Nashville, Miami and Austin. The League plans to have 30 clubs in the coming years. For more information about MLS, visit www.MLSsoccer.com.

About MLS WORKS
Major League Soccer is dedicated to addressing important social issues and improving communities where we live and play our games. Through MLS WORKS, the league’s social responsibility platform, Major League Soccer and its clubs seek to improve the lives of those in need across the United States and Canada. To learn more visit MLSsoccer.com/MLSWORKS and follow @MLSWORKS on Twitter & Instagram.

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