(July 19, 2007) - Right To Play, a world leader in using sport for child development and peace, in partnership with MLS W.O.R.K.S., Major League Soccer's first league-wide community outreach initiative, announced today at the 2007 Sierra Mist MLS All-Star Game that 20 MLS soccer stars from around the league have joined Right To Play as Athlete Ambassadors to raise awareness and funds to help children in the world's most disadvantaged places. The Kansas City Wizards are the only MLS team to have three players named to the list of stars reaching out to the less fortunate.
"In my opinion, it's important for every person around the world to have the opportunity to play sports if they choose to," Victorine said. "They provide so much to kids in the way of learning, exercising and developing as a person. It is an honor to able to help with the Right To Play program and make sure that kids around the world have the same opportunities people like myself, my teammates and other professional athletes around the world have had."
The announcement and official launch of the Right To Play/MLS W.O.R.K.S. partnership will take place at the 2007 Sierra Mist MLS All-Star Game between the MLS All-Stars and Celtic FC at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colo. (Live on ESPN2 and Galavision, 9:00 p.m. ET).
Three of the newly named Ambassadors have been named to the MLS All-Star team: Jones, Ronnie O'Brien (Toronto FC) and Jimmy Conrad (Kansas City Wizards). Joining them as Athlete Ambassadors from around the league are the following players: Davy Arnaud (Kansas City Wizards), Mehdi Ballouchy (Colorado Rapids), Bobby Boswell (D.C. United), Jim Curtin (Chicago Fire), Todd Dunivant (Toronto FC), Brad Guzan (Chivas USA), Kei Kamara (Columbus Crew), Chris Klein (L.A. Galaxy), Sacha Kljestan (Chivas USA), Drew Moor (FC Dallas), Pat Noonan (New England Revolution), Danny O'Rourke (Columbus Crew), Matt Pickens (Chicago Fire), Carey Talley (Real Salt Lake), Sasha Victorine (Kansas City Wizards) and Chris Wingert (Real Salt Lake).
"We are very excited to announce this incredibly generous support from Major League Soccer and its players," said four-time Olympic gold medalist and Right To Play president and CEO Johann Olav Koss. "Right To Play's work in Sport for Development and peace is strengthened by the commitment of these athletes and MLS W.O.R.K.S. This kick-off event is just the beginning of a long and productive partnership that will impact thousands of children worldwide."
adidas is also a driving force with Right To Play and MLS W.O.R.K.S. in raising awareness of sport as an innovative tool for addressing critical development issues, such as the lack of basic education and health information and the impact of conflict. As part of the global initiative to raise funds for Right To Play programs, adidas is producing limited edition mini Red Balls, a World Cup-style redesign of Right To Play's longstanding symbol. It will be retailing for 10 dollars in North America. The balls will be available for purchase at the adidas/MLS W.O.R.K.S./Right To Play tent at the 2007 Sierra Mist MLS All-Star game and throughout the season at stadiums in Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Denver, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. Outside the stadium, the balls are available at www.shopadidas.com and via adidas Sport Performance stores nationwide. All proceeds from the sale of the mini ball will go to support Right To Play's projects around the world.
The Red Ball embodies Right To Play's values - the best values of sport including cooperation, respect, inclusion, integrity and fair play. Written on the red ball are the words "Look after yourself, look after one another." This is the philosophy that guides Right To Play's work. Through its programs, the organization strives to empower individuals to look after themselves and look after their communities.
About Right To Play
Right To Play uses specially-designed sport and play programs to improve health, build life skills, and foster peace for children and communities affected by war, poverty and disease. Working in both the humanitarian and development contexts, Right To Play has projects in more than 20 countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Right To Play is a global-scale implementer of Sport for Development and Peace programs and takes an active role in driving research and policy development in this area and in supporting children's rights. For more information visit the website at www.righttoplay.com.