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Sounders FC celebrates Black History Month

Sounders FC today announced special club programming surrounding the celebration of Black History Month. In addition to the initiatives announced by Major League Soccer earlier this week, the Rave Green are taking part on a club level in projects to help promote and support local Black-owned businesses, elevating the voices of Black professional athletes and encouraging physical activity and play through equipment giveaways in several Seattle Housing Authority (SHA) communities.

On Monday, Sounders FC kicked off its Black History Month programming with the introduction of the Seattle Sounders FC Black History Month InTENtional List. For this month-long effort, the club is partnering with Intentionalist, an online guide to intentional spending that supports small businesses and diverse local communities by making it easier to find and support businesses owned by women, people of color, veterans, members of the LGBTQIA+ community, families and people with disabilities.

"Intentionalist is proud to partner with Seattle Sounders FC to celebrate Black-owned businesses throughout the Puget Sound region,” said Laura Clise, founder and CEO of Intentionalist. “The Seattle Sounders FC Black History Month InTENtional List highlights 10 Black-owned restaurants, cafes and bakeries, and the diverse people behind them. We invite members of the community to show their support, enjoy a treat on us, and remember that when we #SpendLikeItMatters, everyday decisions about where we eat, drink and shop make a difference."

Throughout February, Sounders FC and Intentionalist are highlighting 10 Black-owned restaurants throughout the Puget Sound region, giving the broader community a chance to get to know the diverse people and stories behind each business and its owners, with profiles featured on Intentionalist’s website.

Each Friday, two establishments will be featured, along with a special Sounders FC x Intentionalist deal. Sounders FC is providing a $250 tab at each restaurant, allowing customers placing orders to receive the highlighted item for free by mentioning Sounders FC and Intentionalist. For example, on Monday Burien Fish House in Burien and Jerk Shack in Belltown were highlighted businesses, and customers were able to receive a free two-piece cod and chips and free coconut milk caramel bread pudding, respectively, by asking for those items to be added to the Sounders FC and Intentionalist tab. This is continuing each Friday in February, starting tomorrow. More information – including a complete schedule of restaurants being featured – can be found here.

Deals available for the Sounders FC and Intentionalist tab will be announced each Friday and those interested should follow @Intentionalist_ on Twitter to be the first to hear each week’s featured deals.

Sounders FC and its charitable arm, RAVE Foundation, are also elevating the voices and lived experiences of Black professional athletes.

Steve Zakuani, former Sounder and current member of the club’s broadcast team, hosted a special interview with OL Reign forward Jasmyne Spencer as part of Black History Month and Women and Girls in Sports Day. The interview, available here, highlights what Black History Month means to Spencer and discusses her inspiration and how she hopes to inspire the next generation as a Black, female professional athlete.

Additionally, representatives from Sounders FC, OL Reign and the Seattle Storm are collaborating on a video, under the theme “Be Inspired!”, that is being incorporated into Seattle Housing Authority’s Black History Month programming.

In “Be Inspired!”, Black representatives from the three teams will use sports to tell motivating stories and discuss Black History Month and what it means to each person. The video and SHA programming culminate in a multi-sport equipment giveaway for youth as a way to continue to inspire through personal activity and play.

Equipment for the giveaway is being provided in collaboration with Good Sports and MLS WORKS, and includes soccer balls, basketballs and other training equipment for 150 youth in Yesler Terrace, NewHolly and High Point – three SHA communities.

“It’s wonderful to have partners like RAVE and Sounders FC to help us with meaningful virtual programming for our families,” said Phillippia Goldsmith, Community Builder, SHA’s NewHolly. “Right now, engaging kids online in new and different ways is critical, and we know providing our families Black History Month education from the professional athlete perspective will certainly inspire Seattle Housing Authority youth!”

“Be Inspired!” is airing virtually as part of SHA’s Black History Month programming on February 17, with the equipment giveaway scheduled for February 24.

Sounders FC and RAVE Foundation also continue the partnership with Northwest African American Museum (NAAM) with two new Books & Balls giveaway events this month.

First introduced with giveaways in both December and January, Books & Balls distributes free Black-centered children’s books and high-quality soccer balls to youth in the region. NAAM has curated children’s books by Black authors and artists that seek to not only help reflect personal experiences and reaffirm value for Black youth, but also allow all children to become familiar with diverse characters and storylines while enjoying a new book.

RAVE Foundation’s gift of new soccer balls to pair with the books reflects RAVE’s belief in removing barriers to participation in soccer and sport for all children and that the right to play – regardless of race, income, ability or where you live – is a human right.

These giveaways are scheduled for Wednesday, February 10 at Central Area Youth Association and Wednesday, February 24 at SHA’s High Point community hub in West Seattle.

For additional information on any of the mentioned Black History Month programs, please contact a member of Sounders FC Communications.

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