This Sunday, May 15, as Sounders FC takes on Minnesota United FC in a nationally televised matchup on ESPN (1:00 p.m. / Sirius XM, 93.3 KJR FM, El Rey 1360 AM), the Rave Green are celebrating the 50th anniversary of girls’ soccer in Washington State and the 50th anniversary of Title IX – the groundbreaking legislation passed in 1972 to eliminate sex-based discrimination to ensure all students, both male and female, have access and equality in education, with a special impact on access in sports. A variety of matchday elements recognizing and elevating women’s soccer in Washington State and the power of women in sports are scheduled, both on and off the field.
Before the match, Sounders FC and matchday sponsor Zulily are hosting a Women in Professional Sports Career Panel. The panel features female staff from both the club and Zulily, who will share their career journeys and answer questions from young girls attending the panel through the work of RAVE Foundation and Washington Youth Soccer.
In the northwest concourse area of the stadium, a special exhibit is available for fans, courtesy of Washington State Legends of Soccer, detailing the milestones of women’s soccer in Washington over the past 50 years.
Fans can also learn more about a new RAVE field investment that is being announced on Sunday. Located in the Larchmont neighborhood of Tacoma, this newest addition to RAVE’s collection of small fields for free play is made possible in partnership with OL Reign, Washington Youth Soccer and Delta Air Lines.
Immediately before kickoff, Sounders FC’s “Scarves Up!” moment is being led by a collection of icons from women’s soccer throughout the state over the last 50 years, including: Dr. Colleen Hacker, celebrated mental skills coach and performance psychology specialist who has served as a member of the United States coaching staff for six Olympic Games, in addition to leading Pacific Lutheran to three NAIA titles; Linda Velie, dedicated referee, instructor, assessor, assignor and administrator in Washington State, Region IV and U.S. Soccer for over 30 years, and the first female to ever referee at a men’s professional game (1989); Gina Segadelli, former U.S. Women’s National Team forward and first women in the United States to coach a men’s professional soccer team, serving as an assistant coach in 1994 for the APSL Sounders; Jan Smisek, first woman to receive the A-Level USSF coaching license and trailblazer for women in soccer, including serving as head coach for Seattle University and The Evergreen State College; Sandi Gordon Yotz, the first Black player on the U.S. Women’s National Team; Denise Bender, former U.S. Women’s National Team defender and first-ever USWNT captain; Lori Henry, member of the inaugural U.S. Women’s National Team and only player from the inaugural game to also play in the inaugural FIFA Women’s World Cup in 1991; Bernadette Noonan, recognized for her massive contributions to the growth of soccer in the United States and charter member of the Washington State Women’s Soccer Association; Sandra Hunt, former FIFA referee selected for the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 1999 and 2003, as well as the 2000 Sydney Olympics, currently serving as a referee coach for PRO; and Kerri Hunt, a Seattle native and member of the 1983 U.S. Women’s National “paper” team – formed before the team played matches – and former coach at Bellevue College.
On the field, Sounders FC players are wearing a special jersey patch marking the 50th anniversary of Title IX. The mark displayed on the patch has been created by the Seattle Sports Commission for use by the Seattle sports community to celebrate the landmark legislation. The match-worn jerseys are being auctioned off by RAVE Foundation to further RAVE’s investment in play equity and support programs that inspire and empower girls through soccer. The online auction opens this Saturday, May 14, at Sounders.Givesmart.com and closes to bids at noon on Thursday, May 19. A similar auction featuring match-worn OL Reign jerseys including the Title IX patch is available at the same link same website on May 22, as OL Reign host the Washington Spirit at Lumen Field
The Lumen Field Pro Shop on Sunday is also carrying a special-issue scarf, featuring the Seattle sports Title IX artwork. Scarf supplies are extremely limited, and fans should stop by early if they wish to secure one for their collection.
At halftime of the match, RAVE Foundation recognizes the Cultures United women’s team. Announced on National Girls and Women in Sports Day, the creation of this new pro-am women’s team resulted from investment and collaboration between Sounders FC and Cultures United, a BIPOC-led community soccer organization. In addition to providing funding for start-up expenses like uniforms, league fees and field rentals, Sounders FC is investing in the players’ futures. The players on the Cultures United women’s team will be engaged as coach-mentors for RAVE Foundation clinics and camps in 2022, with special emphasis on girls’ programs and mentorship to further sustain efforts for both Cultures United and RAVE.
Additionally on Sunday, in continuation of the club’s recognition of AANHPI Heritage Month, Sounders FC maintains its collaboration with Intentionalist to encourage fans to “Spend Like it Matters” through the month-long “Receipt and Receive” campaign and the featuring of AANHPI-owned food trucks at home matches throughout the month. On Sunday, highlighted food trucks include Lao-centered Tuk Tuk Mobile Feast and the Filipino-focused Big Boy Food Truck.
For further information regarding any of the activities mentioned here, please contact a member of Sounders FC Communications. To learn more about Sounders FC matchdays, health and safety and how to be prepared to attend a match, visit SoundersFC.com/Matchday/Know-Before-You-Go.