By Bridget McDowell // @BCMcDowell
If you have spent any time at all on soccer Twitter over the last two weeks, you have most likely seen the story about the Idaho youth soccer coach who discovered a letter on the windshield of his vehicle threatening him over his involvement with the Idaho Juniors Futbol Club which serves a large immigrant population. If you haven’t, you can read the Idaho Statesman’s January 25 report here.
The internet responded to the report instantaneously. More than $6,000 has been raised through a GoFundMe page organized by the club to support anti-racism charities. Even pro players and prominent members of the soccer community have spoken out on social media in support of the club and against racism in general.
Just this Wednesday, USSF presidential candidate Kyle Martino appealed to current and former players to join him for a game in support of Idaho Youth Soccer. Kei Kamara and Mia Hamm, among others, have already answered the call.
Meanwhile, I and some of my fellow Minnesota soccer supporters have launched a fundraiser and awareness campaign to bring Jeromy Tarkon‘s team north in July.
Our first 24 hours ended with 66 amazing donors giving $2,358 to get Idaho Juniors FC to @usacupsoccer! What a great way to kick off the fundraiser. 😃
— Red Card To Racism – Send IJFC to the USA Cup! (@redcardtoracism) February 9, 2018
One of the world’s largest celebrations of youth soccer takes place right here, in Minnesota United FC‘s own backyard. Literally.
The Schwann’s USA CUP takes place each summer at the National Sports Center in Blaine. NSC is home to MNUFC’s newly redesigned training facilities and its main stadium played host to MNUFC’s home games in the NASL days (and hosted United’s predecessors, the Thunder and Stars). In 2016, the tournament drew a record 1,176 teams from 19 countries and 19 US states.
The USA CUP is the perfect setting for our fundraising initiative, Red Card to Racism. We hope to raise $24,000 to bring sixteen U-11 players IJFC to the tournament along with three coaches and two chaperones. We want the kids of Idaho Juniors FC, and their counterparts throughout youth soccer, to know that for every one person against them, there are many more of us supporting them, who are ready to show a red card to racism.
This game we love, the World’s Game, would be nothing without the contributions of all the nations and cultures which have celebrated it, cultivated it. This diversity is what makes the game beautiful. So let’s use it to teach others how to celebrate our differences and unite around our similarities.
You can learn more about the fundraiser and ways to give on our YouCaring site.
You can also find Red Card to Racism on Facebook and Twitter, @redcardtoracism.
Featured image courtesy: @redcardtoracism
Follow and chat with me on twitter // @BCMcDowell
Check us out on instagram @mlsfemale