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When Roger Levesque retired from professional soccer in 2012, he couldn’t have imagined returning to his club two years later. Levesque used his time off the pitch to attend the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business, earning his MBA this spring.


After completing his education, the opportunity to return to his former team came up after talking with Taylor Graham, Levesque’s teammate at Stanford and with the Sounders.  Graham, the club’s Senior Director of Business Operations, informed Levesque of an opening for Director of Community Outreach, which seemed to be the perfect role to combine his education and passion for giving back to the Seattle community.


Levesque used the offseason to begin crafting the direction for the club’s community involvement in 2015. While giving back has always been a part of the team’s mission, having Levesque at the helm means more organization moving forward.


“You may think of the Sounders overall as a family. You have the team, the technical staff, the business side, the supporters groups, the fans and local businesses,” Levesque said. “When you think about community, it’s ‘how can we find a way to leverage all those different pieces in order to make a difference?’”


Levesque, who spent nine years with the USL and MLS Sounders, had his first official chance to represent Sounders FC last week at the MLS SuperDraft in Philadelphia. During the week, MLS WORKS sponsors a community event. This year, the organization teamed up with the Philadelphia Union to work with Philabundance, the largest hunger relief organization in the Delaware Valley region. 


“The league does a great job of providing a platform. Individual relationships go a long way in making a bigger impact,” Levesque notes. The event included more than 30 participants, including the latest class of Generation adidas signings. Among these players was Sounders FC draftee Cristian Roldan, who worked alongside Levesque and others to sort meat that would be distributed to local food programs.


“There’s nothing like volunteering to bring people together,” said Levesque. “You’re a lot more likely to connect.”


This event is only the beginning of an exciting 2015 for the Sounders’ community programs. While the focus is local, large events such as the MLS WORKS program are instrumental in fulfilling Levesque’s overall vision.


“One of the biggest takeaways was the connections, not only with MLS WORKS, but people in similar roles at other teams,” he added. “I’m looking forward to bringing together all those people and assets in order to make a difference.”

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