Volunteerism and serving our community are core to Sounders FC. To further acknowledge this value, Sounders FC awards various players and youth as “Humanitarians of the Year”. These individuals were selected by a panel of judges and stood out from their peers by achieving the following:
- Volunteer and make a tangible impact in their community
- Display Sounder’s FC valued attributes of ambition, innovation and collaboration
- Show outstanding dedication to charitable efforts and serving the community
- Are active member of Sounders FC, Sounders FC 2, Sounders FC Academy or Sounders FC Youth Partner Clubs
Sounders FC: Stefan Frei
Frei serves as ambassador for RAVE Foundation, the official charitable arm of Sounders FC, and key program collaborator on the new Sounders FC / RAVE turf playfield at Yesler Terrace Park. Sounders FC and RAVE Foundation partnered with Seattle Housing Authority on the re-development of Yesler Terrace, a low-income housing development that sits at the center of the city. RAVE Foundation collaborated to build an “unrentable” small turf soccer field, free for use by the entire community. In addition to the field, RAVE funded the GOALS for Art program. Led by Frei, students worked with him to add their design ideas to the goals that were created and installed on their field at Yesler.
Sounders FC 2: David Estrada
David serves as a role model – both for the youth with whom he interacts at community events, as well his fellow teammates. He leads by example and conducts himself with the utmost integrity. David shows that all youth no matter their background can all follow their dreams and achieve their goals, despite whatever road blocks may be in their way. David continues to inspire the next generation of soccer players and works closely with Sounders FC Academy staff to provide insight and assistance at all training sessions and matches.
Sounders FC Academy: Sota Kitahara
Sota volunteers locally and globally – when Sota returns home to Japan in the off-season, he volunteers at a local food shelter serving meals to the less fortunate. Sota has volunteered over 100 hours over the past two years, serving meals to those in need. He always volunteers to participate in extra training sessions or join team activities on the weekends. Sota maximizes his community service by volunteering in in both Seattle and Japan; he is the only player in Sounders FC Academy to do so.
Youth Partner Club (age 13-18): Ryan Chang
For the past three years, Ryan has been volunteering as a TOPSoccer Buddy for the Wildcats TOPSoccer program at Arena Sports in Magnuson Park. The Outreach Program for Soccer (TOPSoccer) is a program for players who have developmental and/or physical disabilities and creates an opportunity for players to be part of the soccer community.Ryan has also organized toy drives for Hopelink at Woodridge Elementary School during the past four holiday seasons. In addition, he volunteers with Pacific Science Center as a Science Educator in Training (SET). Ryan plays soccer for Eastside FC and their moto is “Building Champions in Life”, which has inspired him to start a nonprofit organization called R.A.C.E.. The goal of R.A.C.E is to help spread awareness for Autism and support activities for those with intellectual and/or physical disabilities.
Youth Partner Club (age 12 and under): Hailey & Ashley Butz
Hailey and Ashley are twin sisters and together have made double the impact through their volunteer service in the community. Both sisters volunteer at Northwest Harvest where they measure, bag and load bulk food at the Northwest Harvest warehouse. They have also volunteered at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, planning and facilitating a Star Wars movie event to raise money for childhood cancer research. This past summer, Hailey and Ashley volunteered at the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games greeting and cheering on the athletes, coaches, and families as they arrived to Seattle.