AO with soccer stars, professional clubs partner with Common Goal to launch Anti-Racist Project

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Soccer stars, fans, professional clubs partner with Common Goal to launch Anti-Racist Project
Feb. 24, 2021 – The Anti-Racist Project (ARP), an action-based approach to tackling systemic racism in soccer and society, has been launched today, led by a diverse coalition of leaders from the U.S. soccer industry that are tired of the continual lack of action that follows the repeated condemnation of racism.
The ARP was created by Common Goal, a global social impact collective, in partnership with former U.S. Men’s National Team player Tony Sanneh, founder of the Sanneh Foundation; the American Outlaws, the largest unofficial supporters group of soccer in America; the Oakland Roots of the United Soccer League; the Chicago Fire of Major League Soccer; and Angel City FC of the National Women’s Soccer League.

This groundbreaking coalition, forged by a shared determination to act, aims to fund and implement a toolkit designed by Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) experts across the U.S. soccer landscape that will provide anti-racist training for players, coaches, fans, club staff and executives from grassroots to elite level. With existing resources from the launch partners, the project will train 5,000 coaches, 60,000 young people, and 115 staff in more than 400 communities in the first year. With more support, this positive impact will be accelerated and scaled – therefore, coalition members are inviting all industry stakeholders interested in making soccer more equitable to join the project.
Going forward, the American Outlaws will donate 1 percent of its merchandise sales to the Anti-Racist Project, as well as all proceeds from its new “We the Change” print and items to be announced at a later date.
“We want to be a part of the change that we seek in this country,” said Donald Wine, in-stadium chair for the American Outlaws. “As a Black man, I’ve been subjected to racial abuse in the stands and in life. We have to rid all its elements from the game. That doesn’t mean just having harsh conversations. It means actually eliminating racism from our sport and implementing real solutions that make equity and inclusion a priority in everything we do. As a supporters group, we are proud to stand with everyone calling for changing the game, and we’re ready to get started with the hard work that will be needed to eradicate racism out of soccer.”
Zack Steffen, Manchester City FC and U.S. goalkeeper and founder of VOYCENOW, is one of the first players to pledge their support to the ARP.
“There’s been so much talk over the last months about racism in soccer and beyond, and enough is enough,” Steffen said. “It’s time to take action. We need to show people how to be anti-racist. I wanted to join this project because it is the kind of collective action necessary to make large-scale change. I hope this project will go worldwide and create a new culture of inclusion in as many countries as possible.”
The ARP will scale a modified version of the successful curriculum developed by the Sanneh Foundation over the past 20 years.
“I remember being chased around the field being called the N-word,” Sanneh said. “We have made some progress, but not enough. Racism takes many forms. Sometimes it’s an obvious individual manifestation, but it’s also the structural barriers embedded in the game at different levels, but the end result is the same – people of color are excluded from the game. We know what the problem is – now is the time to go and fix it.”
The Anti-Racist Project is open to all soccer stakeholders who would like to form part of the solution to ending racism in soccer and society. To support or join the project, or for more information, please visit www.common-goal.org.

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