Columbus Crew today announced the Club’s initiatives and events throughout the month of June, as part of MLS WORKS’ Soccer For All. As part of Major League Soccer’s social responsibility platform, the Crew works to ensure that everyone is welcome to MLS and the Crew, regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, gender identity, disability, sexual orientation or socioeconomic status.
The Crew engages in inclusive community activities throughout the year, with Soccer For All serving as a month-long celebration of soccer being a global sport for all. The Black & Gold’s home match against Charlotte FC at Lower.com Field on Saturday, June 18 is set to serve as the highlight of a celebration of all the year-round work with a specific focus on Pride Month and Juneteenth.
“As we reflect on our nearly three-decade history and where we want to grow as a Club in the next 30 years, Columbus Crew aspires to be a beacon for inclusivity. Soccer For All this month gives us the chance to celebrate the diversity that makes our community so great,” said Columbus Crew President of Business Operations Kristin Bernert. “The accessibility of soccer is part of what makes it such a beautiful sport. Anyone can play. You just need two nets and a surface.”
Continued Bernert: “We are particularly excited about 614 Day. On that day, we will host four different soccer clinics on mini-pitches throughout Columbus with First Team players at each location with the hopes of igniting a relentless passion for the beautiful game in the kids who participate.”
On Tuesday, June 14, the Crew is set to celebrate 614 Day by holding four free-to-play soccer sessions in the following locations: Northgate Elementary School, Sullivant Gardens Community Center, Blackburn Community Center and the Whitehall YMCA. The sessions, which will involve children from each of the host organizations, will begin at approximately 3:00 p.m. ET and feature Crew Head Coach Caleb Porter and First Team players in attendance. The event will finish with an autograph session for the children in attendance.
Soccer For All Night
On June 18, the Black & Gold will celebrate Soccer For All Night when they host Charlotte FC at Lower.com Field. Ahead of the contest, supporters are encouraged to join the March to the Match, with the main rallying point being the Battelle Plaza.
On that day, Lower.com Field Plaza is set to feature a backdrop where supporters in attendance can write messages displaying what Soccer For All means to them. As part of the festivities, local musician T Wong will perform a rendition of “Lift Every Voice and Sing" in honor of Juneteenth, as well as “The Star-Spangled Banner,” the U.S. national anthem. Prior to kick-off, the Nordecke is set to unveil the first of two special tifos celebrating Soccer For All.
At halftime, the Crew is set to hold a special on-field recognition for the Special Olympics Team Ohio. Before the beginning of the second half, the Nordecke will unveil its second tifo. Following the conclusion of the match, local youth soccer champions will have the opportunity to go onto the Lower.com Field pitch and take photos with the Crew’s 2020 MLS Cup trophy as part of Night of Champions.
Additional activations as part of the June 18 match include players wearing MLS Unity jerseys during warm-ups, as well as kits with special numbers celebrating Juneteenth in-game. The players’ Juneteenth jerseys are set to be auctioned off with proceeds from the auction going to VOYCENOW, a nonprofit organization dedicated to speaking up, creating equal opportunities for all, advancing youth sports and after-school programs, and bringing communities together. More information on the auction will be announced at a later time.
Doubleheader at Historic Crew Stadium
A day later, on June 19, Columbus Crew 2 will host Orlando City B in an MLS NEXT Pro contest as part of a doubleheader at Historic Crew Stadium, which will also feature a Women’s Premier Soccer League match between Columbus Eagles FC and Century United. Crew 2 is slated to play at 2:00 p.m. ET, with the Columbus Eagles kicking off at 5:00 p.m. ET. Tickets for the Crew 2 match are available via this link.
Year-round Crew in the community
As a club, Crew players and staff live, work and play in Columbus and are surrounded by supporters that come from all walks of life and are representative of an evolving and exciting city. The Club is committed to expanding diversity of thought, representation, and inclusion throughout the year. The Crew is honored to work with several community organizations, many of which are from underrepresented groups, including but not limited to:
- Ohio Blind Soccer
- Special Olympics Team Ohio
- Fugees Academy
- Ohio Hispanic Coalition
- Boys and Girls Club
- Columbus Recreation and Parks
- Columbus City Schools
As part of its work with Columbus City Schools, the Crew has helped fund Linden-McKinley STEM Academy’s soccer team, providing cleats and equipment. The Black & Gold have also regularly had players and staff attend Clap-Ins at schools as well as participate in the Get A Kick Out of Reading campaign to promote reading. Last week, Crew Head Coach Caleb Porter along with Crew 2 players and Crew staff members participated in a Clap-Out at Como Elementary School to celebrate the student’s last day of school as they headed into summer break.
The Crew are slated to install the fifth mini-pitch in four years in the Columbus community. The mini-pitches are part of a commitment by the Columbus Crew Foundation to offer children within the Columbus community a safe place to play, while providing a soccer environment that encourages unstructured play within local communities, supporting the continued growth of the game in North America.
Last month, the Crew held the grand opening of a pop-up soccer court in the parking lot of the Ohio Hispanic Coalition‘s offices as part of a Cinco de Mayo Celebration of the Arts. The pop-up soccer court was installed in collaboration with The Over Under Initiative, a nonprofit founded by Crew alumni Kyle Martino dedicated to improving the health and wellness of kids by increasing access to sport in urban neighborhoods.
Along with the installation of the mini-pitches, the Crew works to provide Soccer for Success programming at elementary schools. Soccer for Success is the U.S. Soccer Foundation’s signature soccer program designed for children ages 6-14. It is proven to help children establish physical, social and emotional health skills.
Supporters interested in experiencing the Crew’s state-of-the-art venue, Lower.com Field, may do so by purchasing flexible partial plans or single-match tickets. Partial plans for the remainder of the 2022 MLS regular-season season are available via this link, while single-match tickets may be purchased here.
For more information on the Club’s work in the community, visit ColumbusCrew.com/giveforward.
Columbus Crew vs. Charlotte FC | Soccer for All Night
Be here as the newest team in MLS visits Lower.com Field for the first time!