Two days' worth of programming, six youth clinics, 24 Front Office staff and Crew SC Academy coaches, 150+ total volunteer hours, and 1,000+ participants later...
From Obetz to the Wedgewood neighborhood to Columbus Spanish Immersion Academy and beyond, the Columbus Crew has been ubiquitous throughout the city's youth centers and elementary schools as Black & Gold Week pres. by MAPFRE Insurance presses on ahead of the 2020 Opening Match vs. NYCFC on March 1.
On Tuesday, Feb. 25 and Wednesday, Feb. 26, members of the Crew's First Team, Academy, and Front Office dispersed throughout Central Ohio to bring the game of soccer to six different youth locations.
Those sites included Liberty Elementary, Eakin Elementary, Hilltop YMCA, Columbus Spanish Immersion Academy, Annehurst Elementary, and Hamilton Elementary.
Axel Sjoberg, Derrick Etienne Jr., Sebastian Berhalter, Aidan Morris, Aboubacar Keita, Hector Jimenez, and even Crew Cat & S.C. were among the Crew family who made it out in the community to help lead camps and clinics.
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Each location featured gameplay and skills sessions before ending with a class photo, with personal Black & Gold Week t-shirts given to all participants in addition to select equipment donations.
Katie Myers is the Principal of the Columbus Spanish Immersion Academy, a school of 477 students, 45 percent of which are Latino and 44 percent African-American.
As a Columbus City School, which is the largest urban school district in Ohio, its goal is to develop global, cross-cultural citizens, and the Crew's involvement this week revolved around being a role model for the community's youth.
"Seeing men in roles where they are successful and have a positive influence on their community, particularly if they are Latino men or African-American men, or any person who speaks a different language; multi-cultural or multi-lingual people that are part of this organization and they can see that person in a role that is successful, that’s hope right there…and that’s what they need," Myers said.
Jimenez made an appearance at the Immersion Academy, while Sjoberg and Etienne Jr. went to Hamilton Elementary. Keita went to Eakin Elementary, and Morris and Berhalter both went to the Hilltop YMCA. Players helped lead the camp sessions as students got a photo opportunity at the end and a chance to meet with the players.
As Black & Gold Week pres. by MAPFRE Insurance continues, the students will get a chance to see the whole team live and in-person as nearly 2,000 total tickets were donated to the students and their families for the upcoming home opener on March 1!