James Riley is the embodiment of the word Humanitarian.
Ever since joining the Sounders FC in 2009, he has integrated himself into the community through work with the Renton/Skyway Boys & Girls Club, Special Olympics, the Make-A-Wish Foundation, America SCORES Seattle and Susan G. Komen for the Cure, along with other organizations that he holds close to his heart.
This week, he was named Sounders FC Humanitarian of the Year for the second straight season.
For as much as he does in the community, Riley was far from a shoe-in for the award. Fans, teammates, coaches and staff from the Sounders FC voted for Riley, Taylor Graham and Steve Zakuani for the award.
“Taylor Graham and Steve Zakuani do tremendous work and we get unbelievable support from the club and our teammates have shown up to all of our events,” Riley said. “The fact that we have three fully capable guys that could have won that award is tremendous for the club. We represent the club very well and represent the city very well. I take the award on everyone’s behalf.”
With the money raised from last year’s 7-A-Side tournament, Riley helped arrange a party for the Boys & Girls Club’s Renton/Skyway location and presented them with an incredible array of items for their Marketplace project that teaches the kids who to be active members in their community be simulating their own micro-society within the club.
This year’s tournament, which is becoming Riley’s signature event in a year that includes dozens of appearances throughout the community, included several auction items and appearances by ten of his teammates to help raise funds for the project.
“It’s a great honor. We don’t do those things to get recognition, so I take it and I share it with Taylor and Steve and the rest of my teammates,” he said. “Guys have done so much that goes unnoticed and that’s how we like it. The club is doing something right and the team is supporting it.”
Riley will go up against the winners from each team for the league-wide award, which will be announced later this year.