MLS awards - generic

2020 MLS WORKS Humanitarian of the Year Nominees

2020 MLS WORKS Humanitarian of the Year Nominees
Stats as of Oct. 28, 2020
 
Brad Guzan – Atlanta United
Throughout this very unique season, Brad has lent his voice and platform to raise awareness and provide messages of gratitude to front line workers and non-profit organizations that have been serving our community throughout this pandemic. Brad came on board and partnered with American Family Insurance to provide 500 meals from our partner Gusto! to Piedmont Healthcare Atlanta Hospital nurses and healthcare workers during Nurse Appreciation Week.
 
In addition to his COVID-related support, Brad serves as a first team ambassador on multiple Atlanta United community relations platforms. Brad has been an active Special Olympics Unified team ambassador for the past three seasons, as well as being an avid supporter of our military initiatives - especially the team’s work with T.A.P.S. (Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors) families. Brad is also an ambassador for our Unite & Conquer Cancer program dedicating his time to pediatric cancer patients throughout the season on top of donating his own funds to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.
 
Particular to this season, Brad has used his position as a leader and captain to voice his passion around United We Vote. He has exemplified to our younger players how to use their platform and influence to encourage our fans and supporters to use their voice this election season. This is just another way that he leads by example not only on the pitch, but off of it.
 
 
Micheal Azira – Chicago Fire FC
Micheal Azira’s journey from poverty to professional soccer player was kick-started after he was scouted at a soccer tournament in his native Uganda. To help pave the way for the next generation, Azira has used his resources and platform as a professional athlete to launch the Azira Micheal Youth Foundation, which is aimed at providing at-risk children in his native Uganda with opportunities in soccer and education. In addition to year-round mentorship and support, Azira’s foundation holds an annual Pearl of Africa Youth Championship tournament, where hundreds of children are given a platform to be scouted by soccer coaches, including college coaches from the United States. The tournament is held on the very same fields that Azira played on during his childhood in Kampala, Uganda. Azira’s journey from humble beginnings to professional soccer player and his desire to give back to his community has been recognized by numerous noteworthy publications, including CNN, the Chicago Tribune and Players Tribune
 
 
Nick Hagglund – FC Cincinnati
A Cincinnati native, Nick Hagglund is one of the most visible players in the community as he continues to make a difference in the lives of others in his hometown. In his second season with FC Cincinnati, Hagglund has remained active in his involvement in the community – especially in new ways this season. While all team activities were suspended, Hagglund volunteered with the Council on Aging of Southwestern Ohio to deliver essential items around the area to senior citizens who were unable to leave their homes. Additionally, Hagglund contributed to the FC Cincinnati Foundation’s West End Student meal support initiative, which donated $15,000 to support West End neighborhood families during the pandemic.
 
Hagglund continues to remain involved with community efforts surrounding the West End Pride, FC Cincinnati Foundation’s Soccer Association for Youth teams based in the West End neighborhood of Cincinnati. In April, Nick joined a video call with players who were finally able to “see” each other during the state-mandated school closures and provided an outlet for them to ask questions of a professional player. During Kick Childhood Cancer month, Hagglund surprised kids battling with cancer across Cincinnati via a video call.
 
 
Kellyn Acosta – Colorado Rapids
Kellyn Acosta has been an integral part of the Colorado Rapids’ community efforts since joining the club in 2018. He has served an active member of the Rapids’ Special Olympics Unified Program for the last two seasons and has formed lasting bonds with their athletes who look to him for mentorship both on and off the pitch. Acosta is also a player ambassador for the club’s Dare to Play Soccer program with Global Down Syndrome Foundation and has participated as a celebrity model in their annual fashion show. The 25-year-old midfielder has also taken part in power soccer practices, made hospital visits and participated in several impactful fundraising events benefiting Kroenke Sports Charities, which provides community programming for local youth and families in Colorado.
 
 
Gyasi Zardes – Columbus Crew SC
Social distancing did not stop Gyasi Zardes from doing community work in 2020. The forward was involved in several campaigns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, including public service announcements, sending messages of hope to fans, participating in Ohio Governor Mike DeWine’s #MasksUpOhio campaign, and reading Milo’s Hat Trick for the Governor's Imagination Library. Zardes also participated in Nationwide Children’s Hospital’s “On Our Feet For On Our Sleeves” initiative, wearing custom-made cleats to help raise awareness of pediatric mental health. Earlier this year, Zardes made a $5,000 contribution to the Crew SC Foundation on behalf of Team Volkswagen’s Drive Bigger program. Most recently, Zardes participated in a Zoom call with a pediatric cancer patient who is a huge Crew SC supporter.
 
 
Nkosi Burgess – FC Dallas
Since arriving in Dallas, rookie Nkosi Burgess has been active in community initiatives and vocal about social issue that matter most to him including being an active member of Black Players for Change. But his impact doesn’t stop there. On the evening of June 11th, an email hit the FC Dallas Customer Service inbox with the subject line reading Nkosi Burgess Was My Hero Today. 
 
Email from Kelly Teaff:
“I’m writing you tonight to let you know that I might not be alive tonight had it not been for Nkosi Burgess. I work at Nordstrom Stonebriar Center and he was nearby when I choked at lunch today and couldn’t breathe. He had to perform the Heimlich maneuver on me when I was about to pass out, and he was the only one at any of the lunch tables that responded and knew what to do. My co-worker got his name/info for me and we figured out that he plays soccer with your organization. 

I will never be able to thank him enough, but God put him in my path today and I want your organization to know what an amazing, gracious thing he did for me. He’s a wonderful man, and I will never forget him and his kindness. You are very lucky to have a man like him on your team, and my family and I will forever keep him in our prayers.

Please forward this to your management and coaches so they’ll hear my story.
 
Sincerely,
Kelly Teaff, Plano”
 
Burgess is not only an active member in the community when eyes are on him, but also when they are not. This act of service truly embodies what it means to be an MLS WORKS Humanitarian of the Year.
 
This story did not get media coverage because we gave it exclusively to the Dallas Morning News. The reporter for the Dallas Morning News tested positive for COVID-19 following the interview which put the story on hold. The paper had hoped to hold the story for Nkosi’s debut in Orlando at the MLS is Back Tournament but because of FC Dallas’ withdrawal from the tournament, that didn’t happen. Because of a multitude of headlines forcing the story to be postponed, the DMN hasn’t been able to run the print piece but ran a video piece. (CLICK HERE)
 
We’re actively pitching this story now. The woman whose life he saved has dealt with some subsequent challenges of her which has made interviewing her challenging. 
 
 
Chris Odoi-Atsem – D.C. United
Chris continues to use his personal experience overcoming Hodgkin’s lymphoma to help others going through similar issues. He worked on multiple campaigns during Kick Childhood Cancer Awareness month and has used his off-time to volunteer to speak with children currently overcoming cancer.
 
 
Zarek Valentin – Houston Dynamo
Zarek Valentin truly embraced the Houston community in his first year with the Dynamo, and in a year of uncertainty he still managed to give back in every way he could.  In the month of March, Zarek saw a social media post of a Dynamo fan sitting in the parking lot of a local hospital with a sign letting his wife know he was there to support her during her breast cancer treatment even though COVID prevented him from being with her physically.  Touched by the photo, Zarek worked with the Club to contact this fan and his family and personally reach out to them and give them his support.  When the wife finished her treatment a few months later, Zarek showed up to the hospital to help celebrate her accomplishment. 
 
He has also been extremely active in promoting voter registration and engagement, including making sure that all of his American teammates and age-eligible Dynamo Academy players were registered; and he played a central role in turning BBVA Stadium into a Vote Center.
 
Throughout the current pandemic, Zarek met with multiple organizations via Zoom to host virtual visits with pediatric cancer patients, kids in schools and other community organizations that the Dynamo work with. Zarek has volunteered for every opportunity that has been available to players, including helping to pack over 500 lunches for underserved kids in Houston.
 
During Kick Childhood Cancer Month in September, Zarek worked with the Dynamo to individually deliver customized, player worn jersey’s to kids from MD Anderson Cancer Center, who were battling cancer.  He was able to personally thank them for their courageousness and let the kids know how much it meant for the players to wear jerseys with their names on the back.
 
Throughout the year, Zarek has worked with the Dynamo Community Relations team as well as the Club’s charitable foundation to find ways to impact the community.
 
Links to posts featuring some of his efforts in the community:
 
 
Luis Robles – Inter Miami CF
From the day Inter Miami CF signed Luis Robles to its inaugural season roster, he has shown a willingness and desire to get involved with his new community. The veteran goalkeeper took part in Inter Miami’s toy drive initiative shortly after his signing in December 2019. He joined staff and Academy players in the wrapping and delivery of over 500 presents for kids throughout South Florida. 
 
Shortly after the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown began after the MLS season launch, the team captain returned to the Club’s new stadium to be part of Inter Miami’s food drive initiative. Robles helped distribute over 350 bags to support relief efforts in collaboration with staff and DeliverLean for families in need throughout Fort Lauderdale.
 
Robles, who is a father of three school-aged children, once again stepped up to join a group of Inter Miami First Team players for the Club’s inaugural back to school event presented by Gallagher later in September. Over 150 backpacks with a tablet were delivered to hand-selected students participating in virtual learning programs in collaboration with the City of Miami.
 
Even though 2020 has been an unpredictable and unprecedented year, Robles has shined as a leader on and off the field.
 
 
Mark-Anthony Kaye – Los Angeles Football Club
In his third season in Major League Soccer and Los Angeles, Kaye remains a constant force for good in the community. Throughout the year, Kaye has made virtual appearances and participated in various community events in the LA metro area. Additionally, the 25-year-old is LAFC’s representative and member of the Black Players for Change, constantly advocating and supporting black voices and communities.
 
 
Julian Araujo – LA Galaxy
In addition to a breakout season on the field, LA Galaxy defender Julian Araujo has stepped off of it to become one of the leading athletes in the Los Angeles community at just 19 years old. A native of Lompoc, California, the teenager has worked extensively to give back to farm workers from his local community.
 
This summer, during nation-wide orders to stay at home, Araujo provided hundreds of meals regularly to farm workers in Lompoc while supplying each of them with a personal note that read: “When the sun rises you go to work. When the sun goes down you continue working. Thank you for working with your hands, your mind and your heart."
 
Araujo then worked directly to support and raise funds for e United Farmworkers Foundation, the charitable arm of the United Farmworkers union created by famed labor leader Cesar Chavez. LOS ANGELES -- Julian Araujo is looking to use his platform to make the world a better place for farmworkers in California.
 
On Tuesday, the LA Galaxy defender took to Twitter to announce a donation to the United Farmworkers Foundation (UFWF), the charitable arm of the United Farmworkers union created by famed labor leader Cesar Chavez. The UFW Foundation serves over 90,000 immigrants annually through a holistic approach; providing critical services and engaging our constituents in systemic change to break the cycle of poverty by providing education and resources.
 
In addition to a $1,700 donation from Araujo directly, the Galaxy defender helped raised thousands of additional funds for the UFWF through his support on social media.
 
In addition to his work with the UFWF and supporting his Lompoc community, Araujo has been one of the most consistent players to volunteer with the LA Galaxy Foundation this season. He has volunteered at various food drives and community outreach events during the COVID-19 pandemic. Araujo has also worked closely to help give back to the community while supporting the East Side Riders Bike Club in Watts. Most recently, he was on site to help feed the community during a mural unveiling of LA Galaxy and USMNT legend Cobi Jones. 
 
 
Tyler Miller – Minnesota United FC
Goalkeeper Tyler Miller has a giant heart for the community and a passion for fighting cancer, wherever he is. While in Seattle, he started working with Austen Everett Foundation, which works to empower kids through their fight with cancer through the power of sports. It continued when he joined LAFC in 2018, where he launched a beach soccer tournament. Despite a pandemic, temporary league shutdown and season-ending hip injury, Miller has stayed committed to helping his new community in the Twin Cities and kids fighting cancer.
 
When the pandemic hit, Miller was one of the first MNUFC players to step up and ask, “What can I do? How can I help?” He hosted a charity eMLS stream with MNUFC eMLS pro Jay Adams with the proceeds benefitting the Pinky Swear Foundation, a local organization that eases the financial and emotional impacts experienced by children with cancer and their families by providing support for basic needs. He raised almost $4,000 for families struggling during the pandemic to help with cancer treatments.
 
Miller continues to be an MLS ambassador for Kick Childhood Cancer. He shared his personal story of how cancer has impacted his life on behalf of Continental Tire through Messages of Hope and worked with the Austen Everett Foundation for the MNUFC honorary KCC captain, Adrian Guzman Gutierrez. Tyler went above and beyond to find unique ways to make Adrian feel honored during this unorthodox season.
 
Miller joined Minnesota United in January of 2020 via trade from 2019 Supporters’ Shield winners LAFC and quickly made an impact as the Loons’ starter between the pipes. After leading MNUFC to the semifinals of the MLS is Back tournament, Miller underwent season-ending hip surgery and is now a part-time sideline analyst for the MNUFC home broadcast.
 
 
Victor Wanyama – Montreal Impact
Through his Foundation, Victor Wanyama is helping stop the spread of Covid-19 in his native Kenya, raising awareness, providing knowledge, education and resources to people living in slums around the country. The Victor Wanyama Foundation, in conjunction with UN Habitat, provided employment to over 40 women who have produced 7,000 reusable masks to help in the fight against Covid-19. Moreover, the Victor Wanyama Foundation has already build 10 homes in Korogocho, with a goal of 50 houses built.

Article: https://www.impactmontreal.com/en/post/2020/09/15/making-impact-pitch

Videos:
 
 
Jalil Anibaba – Nashville SC
Jalil Anibaba has made his impact felt in the community in 2020 and has used his platform to provide a voice for change. Anibaba, along with fellow MLS players started the Black Players For Change (BCP) organization, days after the death of George Floyd.
 
BPC is an independent organization consisting of over 170+ players, coaches and staff of MLS, working to bridge the racial equality gap that exists in society.  BPC is committed to tackling the racial injustices that have limited Black people from having an equitable stake in the game of soccer and society. Among the many goals the organization strives to advance the attention on human right inequalities from protest to programs, partnerships and policies that address systemic racism.
 
Anibaba has made an immediate impact at the local level here in Nashville. In celebration of Juneteenth, Anibaba and his Nashville SC teammates volunteered at the Community Resource Center to make household preparedness kits for families impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.  The Community Resource center collects and distribute essential goods and medical supplies to Nashvillians in poverty and has been a key player assisting Middle Tennessee’s most vulnerable families.
 
The Nashville SC defender is also the host of the Anibaba Skills Camp where kids ages 5-18 have an opportunity to sign up and register for soccer clinics hosted by the player.
 
 
 
Teal Bunbury – New England Revolution
On September 24, Revolution forward Teal Bunbury and several teammates rallied together for the 2nd annual Back to School Kickoff shopping spree event, which raised $12,000 to support 40 Boston-area families in need, particularly those going through difficult times due the COVID-19 pandemic. After successfully helping numerous families in 2019, this season Bunbury quadrupled the team’s goal, allowing him to provide each of the 40 families with a $300 gift card to purchase school supplies, clothing, or whatever they desired.
 
 
Brad Stuver – New York City FC
Since Brad moved to NYCFC in December of 2017, he has been an impactful role model for young New Yorkers across the five boroughs. Community work has always been part of Brad’s DNA, but has taken it to the next level as he continues to find ways to use his platform as an athlete to inspire young people. Five years ago, Brad teamed up with the Laundry Project to provide resources in underserved communities to have access to clean clothing. Since joining NYCFC, he has helped expand the program locally in NYC, raising money, laundry supplies, and paying for laundry services for locals. Brad always raises his hand to volunteer for NYCFC community projects, but what is more impressive is how he goes above-and-beyond Club sanctioned events. Two seasons ago, Brad joined Athlete Ally as an athlete ambassador helping to dismantle the systems of oppression in sports that isolate and exclude LGBTQI+ people. To strengthen the partnership, this year he joined a virtual Athlete Ally panel during COVID – alongside Sky Blue FC's Imani Dorsey – to speak about inclusion in soccer. Also, as soon as the pandemic hit NYC, Brad joined the NYCFC Community Team to contribute uplifting content for young leaders and fans on ‘Meditation Monday’ and ‘Workout Wednesday.’ Brad continuously uses his influence, skill and passion to serve as a volunteer coach. This includes coaching for: City in the Community (CITC) youth in the Bronx, the NYPD men’s soccer team in the Local Ford Classic, at City Football School in Abu Dhabi and with the national nonprofit, Street Soccer USA. Earlier this month, Brad joined fellow Goalkeeper Sean Johnson for a conversation on diversity and inclusion in sports and shared how NYCFC and MLS are supporting the Black Lives Matter movement. Most recently, Brad joined the First Lady of NYC Chirlane McCray to host a virtual ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the installation of seven new mini-soccer pitches across the city as part of New York City Soccer Initiative (the 50-pitch project). Brad’s legacy of community work speaks for itself. Importantly, Brad understands the role athletes can play in uplifting communities and raising awareness for social justice and humanitarian causes. We are so proud to have Brad on our NYCFC team as he truly embodies our vision to empower lives through soccer.
 
 
Kendall McIntosh – New York Red Bulls
In an extremely challenging 2020, Red Bulls goalkeeper Kendall McIntosh took it upon himself to lead within the club, sparking open and honest conversation and player-led initiatives. McIntosh organized the Red Bulls player-led “Unite, Rethink, Reform” initiative to raise awareness and drive honest conversation around issues of racism and social injustice. McIntosh and the Red Bulls identified and raised funds for three organizations, the NAACP legal defense and education fund, the National Black Child Development Institute, and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund.
 
 
Tesho Akindele – Orlando City SC
A six-year veteran of MLS, Tesho Akindele has been active in both league-wide and club-wide activations for the Black Players for Change, also featuring in the BPC’s voting PSA. In addition, Akindele has used his platforms to share voting and social justice-related resources, and also took it upon himself to ensure all eligible City players were registered to vote.
 
 
Warren Creavalle – Philadelphia Union
Warren Creavalle has been active in his local community as well as on a national platform. Warren created the Solidarity t-shirt that has been worn throughout the league by players, coaches, and staff at every match since the MLS is Back Tournament. A member of Black Players for Change, Creavalle created the shirt with the messaging of rights and solidarity with the black community in the fight against systemic racism at its core and has been vocal in the fight for change. He has done numerous public interviews to raise awareness for social justice issues including: ESPNFC, Associated Press, Delaware County Times, 610ESPN and Extratime. Locally, Warren has combined his passion for fashion with being a mentor to children by co-founding an afterschool program in Chester, an underserved community outside Philadelphia. Now in its second year, “Design FC,” is an afterschool program run by Warren and his co-founder for fifth and sixth grade students. While designing jerseys, they are brought through lessons that encourage creative thinking, expression, and design. They work with students to create designs that hold personal meanings for each individual.
 
 
Jeremy Ebobisse – Portland Timbers
The Portland Timbers nominate Jeremy Ebobisse for the 2020 MLS Humanitarian of the Year.  Jeremy has been instrumental in Black Players for Change and serves on the Executive Board of the organization which is working towards addressing the racial equality gap and social justice issues.  In addition, Jeremy started the season with a robust plan to increase awareness of issues related to race, cultural identity, and social justice with his collaboration and campaign for both the Timbers and Thorns: Educate, Elevate, Engage.  The campaign helped to benefit Kairos PDX, a local nonprofit working towards achieving the educational gap for historically underserved students.  Jeremy has also participated in videos to local organizations to uplift incarcerated youth of color, as well as local students challenged with learning obstacles during the global pandemic.
 
 
Kyle Beckerman – Real Salt Lake
Over the past 2 years Kyle Beckerman has focused his time helping kids on the Indian Reservations with his “Light the Res” project.
 
Kyle and the RSL Foundation auctioned off the 2019 Parley Jerseys to raise money to install solar on 13 houses of the Navajo Reservation.
 
This year when the pandemic hit, schools on the reservations shut down leaving many students isolated without the essential supplies needed to learn.
 
The “Light the Res” project quickly adapted to fill the needs of the students by supplying grade level distance learning kits to over 7,500 students on the reservations in Utah, Arizona and New Mexico. The kits were designed and funded by Heart of America, they contained: grade level books, art supplies, STEM experiments including a solar model car and a solar lantern.
 
As the son of two teachers Kyle understands the role of supporting teachers and the importance of good curriculum. In previous years Kyle has held a 5th grade book club encouraging kids to keep learning and reading over the summer.
 
This year Kyle spent time with RSL’s youngest recruits, the U-15 academy team. He spoke of being a leader off the field and stressed the importance of knowing and supporting your teammates.
 
 
Chris Wondolowski – San Jose Earthquakes
Chris Wondolowski has consistently been the Earthquakes’ most outspoken and supportive player for a number of environmental and societal initiatives in 2020. He was a prominent figure during the team’s Kick Childhood Cancer honorary captain campaign, served as a proud voice of leadership in the Native American community, and also served as spokesperson for San Jose Environmental Services. Additionally, Wondolowski played an important role in the Black Lives Matter movement, appearing in the Black Players for Change voting PSA and spearheading the team’s decision to postpone a match in order to shine light on racial injustice. Wondolowski even held a 30-minute press conference to discuss his stance on the movement and the team’s decision not to play.
 
 
Cristian Roldan – Seattle Sounders FC
In 2020, Cristian Roldan was dedicated to raising awareness for systemic racism. Roldan is the face of the Sounders FC VOTE initiative, encouraging all voices to be heard by completing the census and registering and turning out to vote to improve the lives of everyone in our community. Roldan uses his voice to highlight social injustices, in particular the case of Manny Ellis in Tacoma, Wash.
 
Roldan is a vocal advocate for supporting BIPOC businesses and implemented a local BIPOC caterer to provide a team meal on a weekly basis. Said Roldan, “It’s important to help out Black-owned restaurants and businesses because these owners may not have had the running start that others may have had. Additionally, we need to continue to support our local restaurants to grow our economy. We can make a difference by starting here in our own backyard. Let’s do it together.”
 
Additionally, Roldan serves on the board of America Scores Seattle, headlined by the annual Rave Green Run to benefit RAVE Foundation. He was also a vocal supporter of Earth Day 2020 NW’s #VoicesCarry2020 campaign in celebration of the 50th anniversary of earth day.
 
 
Khiry Shelton – Sporting Kansas City
Sporting Kansas City forward Khiry Shelton has embraced a major role in the club’s philanthropic initiatives throughout 2020, advocating for social justice while also supporting local youths through a variety of community programs. At the forefront, Shelton has led Sporting’s efforts tied to the Black Lives Matter movement, joining the Black Players for Change coalition to help establish programs and policies that address systemic racism and aid the Black community in attaining both health equality and economic opportunity.
 
Additionally, Shelton has been an active volunteer for The Victory Project, a foundation launched by Sporting that supports children affected by cancer and all of life’s challenges. As one of the club’s biggest Victory Project advocates, Shelton rallies his teammates to greet Victory Project honorees at Sporting KC training sessions and provides special surprise and delight deliveries to these children on matchdays. In conjunction with the Kick Childhood Cancer campaign, Shelton has made care kit deliveries to families at Children’s Mercy Hospital and participated in virtual meet and greets with inpatients at the facility. He has also pursued the opportunity to partner with Shadow Buddies, a local non-profit that provides emotional support for severely ill children through the Courageous Crew program.
 
 
Justin Morrow – Toronto FC
Toronto FC is proud to nominate defender Justin Morrow as the 2020 MLS WORKS Humanitarian of the Year. Since arriving in Toronto in 2014, Justin has been a champion for Toronto FC both on and off the pitch. In an unprecedented 2020 season, Justin has been at the forefront of enacting positive change across the professional sports landscape.
 
Justin’s humanitarianism and leadership were brought to the forefront when he was named the Executive Director of Black Players For Change, an organization to give black players in MLS a voice and assist in making systemic change both inside and outside of MLS. The Black Players For Change organization has been working in partnership with the MLSPA and MLS on addressing the racial inequalities in MLS, stand with those fighting racism in the world of soccer, and positively impact black communities across the United States and Canada. Justin has been the face of this organization, granting dozens of interviews and putting himself in front as an athlete who wants to make a difference in society.
 
In addition to his work with Black Players for Change, Justin is a member of the More Than A Vote coalition to fight black voter suppression. This coalition has taken tangible steps to encourage civic engagement and remove barriers to vote.  Over the past months, Justin has been working to improve voter registration numbers among his MLS peers, and has taken time to meet with league staff at all levels to discuss the initiatives he and the BPC organization are working on.
 
Around the Greater Toronto Area, none of Justin’s recent work comes as a surprise. In past seasons, Justin created a summer-school reading program for youth in Toronto and has made dozens of appearances for community partners and programs.
 
To learn more about Justin’s work with Black Players For Change, please visit https://blackplayersforchange.org/
 
 
Tosaint Ricketts – Vancouver Whitecaps FC
Vancouver Whitecaps FC striker Tosaint Ricketts has been an exemplary team member on and off the pitch this season. Ricketts was the club’s player ambassador for the It Takes A Village fundraising artwork campaign, honouring frontline heroes of the COVID-19 pandemic and raising over $140K for the Greater Vancouver Food Bank. As part of the initiative, Ricketts was also able to gift art pieces to British Columbia’s provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, BC Nurses Union president Christine Sorensen, and staff at BC Children’s Hospital. 
 
Rickets has also been a passionate advocate for social justice and anti-racism. He is active in the MLS Black Players for Change organization, and continues to support greater diversity and inclusion in our club and community. To commemorate Juneteenth this year, Tosaint and the team wore Unity jerseys with the word “freedom” in different languages, and the jerseys were auctioned to raise funds for Hogan’s Alley Society, a local non-profit whose mission is to preserve and promote the historical, cultural, societal and economic contributions made by Black residents in British Columbia.
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