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Beginning now through August 2nd at 2:00 PM ET, you can vote for the 2017 MLS WORKS Community MVP Grand Prize winner.




One Community MVP finalist has been chosen to represent each of the League’s 22 clubs.  Each finalist will receive: 

  • Two tickets to an MLS match in their local market, taking place during the 2017 MLS season
  • Local recognition
  • Trip for two to the 2017 MLS All-Star Game presented by Target in Chicago, Ill. Trip to include:
    • Roundtrip coach airfare for two
    • Accommodations for two nights
    • One 2017 MLS All-Star Gift
    • Two tickets to the 2017 MLS All-Star Game presented by Target on Wednesday, August 2 at Soldier Field
    • Opportunity to participate in All-Star festivities, including the MLS WORKS All-Star Day of Service presented by Wells Fargo
    • National recognition during halftime of the 2017 MLS All-Star Game presented by Target
    • One Wells Fargo Stagecoach Model

Twenty-one finalists will receive a $1,000 donation for a charitable cause.

One Grand Prize winner will be announced during halftime of the 2017 MLS All-Star Game presented by Target and receive a $25,000 donation for a charitable cause.

The Grand Prize winner will be determined based on the voting results during a three-week contest window, Thursday, July 13th at 12:00 PM ET through Wednesday, August 2nd at 2:00 PM ET.

Community Map


Click on a Community MVP finalist’s photo to learn how they are making a positive impact and to submit your vote.
Fran Harrington, America SCORES Boston Fran Harrington, America SCORES Boston New England Revolution
Community MVP
New England Revolution

Fran Harrington has been a dedicated volunteer to America SCORES Boston for 10 years. He generously gives his money, expertise and time designing logos, graphics and collateral for special events, constructing staging and creating portable soccer fields for students.

Fran serves as President of the Midnight Riders Supporters Club of the New England Revolution, and Co-Chapter Head of the American Outlaws Boston. He spearheads the Outlaws’ Annual Winter Ball, raising funds to benefit America SCORES Boston.

The ripple effect of Fran’s involvement is vast; the connections he has forged between his extensive network and SCORES has funded programming and volunteer recruitment, and made a difference in the lives of participating youth.

Mikael Rumphrey, Veterans Affairs Mikael Rumphrey, Veterans Affairs Philadelphia Union
Community MVP
Philadelphia Union

Mikael Rumphrey has dedicated his life to serving this country. He has proudly served the United States on multiple tours to the Middle East and other operations, and kept his fellow soldiers safe while working security desks.  Often, when our soldiers come home, they are challenged readjusting to daily activities, and experience financial, emotional, and/or physical distress. Quite often, this leads many of our troops into homelessness. As a veteran, Mikael joined the Department of Veterans Affairs to help these service members in need.

Veterans Affairs (VA) provides many services to America’s veterans:

1) VA operates the nation’s largest integrated health care system of hospitals, clinics, community living centers, domicilaries, readjustment counseling centers and other facitilites.

2) VA operates national cemeteries and provides burial and memorial benefits available for eligible service members, veterans and family members.

3) VA administers a variety of benefits and services that provide financial and other forms of assistance to service members, veterans, their dependents and survivors.

Combining his passion for soccer and the resources of the VA, Mikael continues to support his fellow servicemen and women, and help them adjust and transition back into civilian life.

Lisa Stilgenbauer, Soccer4All Lisa Stilgenbauer, Soccer4All Columbus Crew SC
Community MVP
Columbus Crew SC

Lisa Stilgenbauer was a coach for the U10 and U12 Dover Soccer Association (DSA) soccer teams.  Though she fulfilled her desire to support the soccer association, she wanted to make a bigger impact.

Lisa dedicated her focus on growing soccer accessibility amongst young men and women with special needs.  The desire to turn her attention to Ohio-based youth with special needs was an easy one.  Lisa’s inspiration came from her niece, who is diagnosed with autism and participates in a special needs soccer program north of Akron.  Lisa could not help but wonder why the entire county did not have the opportunity to play soccer.  The lack of soccer accessibility within her community caused Lisa to found Soccer4All, the DSA league for children with physical and/or mental disabilities.  The program is open to all children ages five to 18 with developmental delays or disabilities.  The program was established with three primary goals – to spur activity amongst youth with special needs, develop friendships and have fun. Lisa recruits middle and high school players from Dover School soccer programs to serve as volunteer “soccer buddies” and assist Soccer4All players and coaches.  In many cases, Soccer4All players are paired with a buddy to offer individualized direction and support.  Lisa also works with local civic and business leaders to develop new and innovative ways to support Soccer4All programming.

Soccer4All players, buddies, and parents have all benefited from Lisa’s efforts to bring soccer to those who need it most.

Johanna Agueda, The Craig Willinger Fund Johanna Agueda, The Craig Willinger Fund D.C. United
Community MVP
D.C. United

Johanna Agueda’s wish for Craig Willinger was the original idea behind the Craig Willinger Fund. Craig was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2007. During the months that followed his diagnosis, Johanna witnessed her 37-year-old boyfriend put aside his life’s passions to focus on survival. She felt Craig shouldn’t have to give up his dreams and that having something big in his life other than cancer would inspire him to fight. Johanna sought help from the local soccer community, who helped raise money to send Craig on a once-in-a-lifetime trip to see his favorite soccer team, Bayern Munich, play at Allianz Arena in Munich, Germany.
So moved by his experience, Craig founded the Craig Willinger Fund to honor young soccer fans fighting cancer. He assembled an all-volunteer board to oversee all aspects of charity operations and served as chairperson until his death in 2012.
Johanna has played an active role supporting the CWFund since the beginning, helping the organization kick off its first trip, supporting ongoing marketing and fundraising efforts, participating in the honoree selection process, and serving as honoree chaperone for multiple trips. Since 2010, thirteen CWFund honorees have traveled to South Africa, Barcelona, Milan, London, Madrid, New York City, Manchester (UK), Brazil, and Leicester (UK), including events like the FIFA World Cup and the UEFA Champions League Final.

Laura Clise, Athlete Ally Laura Clise, Athlete Ally Seattle Sounders FC
Community MVP
Seattle Sounders FC

Laura Clise fights for equality, diversity, inclusion and the LGBTQ community in the Greater Seattle area, and nationally, as a board member of Athlete Ally. Athlete Ally provides educational programming and tools to foster inclusivity in sports communities. Most recently, Laura collaborated with Seattle Sounders FC to highlight their support of the LGBTQ community. Together, Laura and Sounders FC organized a collective press conference at the Sounders FC front office with representative from all five major professional sports teams in Seattle, attracting the attention of local and national media. This was the first time a city’s professional sports teams united in support of equality and inclusion for the LGBTQ community.

Laura was also influential in Seattle’s professional sports franchises collaborating on a joint PSA, which was shared on social media and in stadiums throughout Seattle during Pride week. Laura’s work with Sounders FC builds on prior collaborations with the U.S. Soccer Foundation and the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA). This ensures that as the game of soccer grows, every team and community belongs.

Marcus Lozano, Special Olympics New Jersey Marcus Lozano, Special Olympics New Jersey New York Red Bulls
Community MVP
New York Red Bulls

Marcus Lozano has impacted many lives in the Union City, NJ community. As a special education teacher at a high school, and coach for varsity, youth recreation and Special Olympics soccer teams, Marcus has used soccer as a way to promote the inclusion of individuals with disabilities. Marcus created a Unified Sports Club at Union City High School to form friendships between students in special education and their peers. This club has many teams, including Special Olympics Unified bowling, basketball, track & field and three soccer teams that train year-round with TOPSoccer Union City through the Union City Soccer Club.

Marcus grew up playing soccer since age 4 in his hometown of Buffalo, NY. He moved to New Jersey on a scholarship to play soccer at Caldwell College. After graduating with a Master’s Degree in Special Education, his coaching career began. He has worked relentlessly to receive accredited licenses to become a certified coach. In addition, Marcus is currently pursuing his D license to become a qualified trainer in U.S. Youth Soccer TOPSoccer – a community-based training and team placement program for young athletes with disabilities. This will allow him to run clinics for new programs. The TOPSoccer program in Union City has grown from five players and volunteers to fifty after Marcus joined the coaching staff. Coach Marcus has recruited many members of the Boys and Girls Varsity Soccer Teams at Union City High School to join TOPSoccer and play with the Unified Teams. Five of his players are currently on the New York Red Bulls Unified Soccer Team, where Marcus has been on the coaching staff for the past two seasons.

Detective Roy Contreras, Utah Development Academy Detective Roy Contreras, Utah Development Academy Real Salt Lake
Community MVP
Real Salt Lake

The mission of the Salt Lake Area Gang Project, also known as Metro Gang Unit, is to identify, reduce, and prevent criminal gang activity through public education and proactive enforcement in Salt Lake County and the surrounding areas. Detective Roy Contreras has dedicated his life to improving his community as an officer on the Metro Gang Unit. Roy serves as a coach and mentor to provide resources and support to those who are at-risk to gang involvement. As a coach, his success is not defined by the team’s record, but by his impact on each individual athlete. He has experienced firsthand how soccer can influence a child’s path in life.

This summer, the Metro Gang Unit partnered with Real Salt Lake to host free soccer clinics for at-risk youth, teaching fundamentals of soccer while fostering positive relationships with law enforcement. This type of sports-based youth development programming has been very successful in improving attitudes towards law enforcement and encouraging positive decision making. Seeing this impact first hand, Roy has used the beautiful game to create positive change and improve police-community relations.

Keith Palau, Embrace Oregon Keith Palau, Embrace Oregon Portland Timbers
Community MVP
Portland Timbers

Keith Palau is a driving force behind many of the charitable actions undertaken by the 107 Independent Supporters Trust, the engine that runs the Timbers Army and Rose City Riveters, and is an invaluable member of the Timbers Army Community Outreach Committee. Over the past two seasons he has also spearheaded the “You Are Loved” movement, to create Timbers (and Thorns)-themed visitation rooms in the Oregon Department of Human Services Offices.  These visitation rooms serve a place where foster children meet with parents and family an average of one hour per week and where a child could wait for placement after they are removed from a challenging living situation. These rooms provide a comfortable and welcoming environment for children and families who are experiencing difficult times.

Keith wanted to make sure that these visits, which usually happen in a fairly sterile, office-like environment could instead take place in a warm and welcoming room that reminded foster children they are loved. Keith also created a “You Are Loved” scarf sold as BOGO (Buy One Get One free) – one to the buyer, and one to a foster child, with proceeds going towards these projects. He has hosted fundraisers, sought donations from businesses, personally financed, and galvanized volunteers as well as Timbers and Thorns players and staff, to fund these visitation rooms.

Embrace Oregon connects caring community members with vulnerable children and families in partnership with the Department of Human Services and is dedicated to the flourishing of every child.

Edgar Melchor, The FORGE for Families Edgar Melchor, The FORGE for Families Houston Dynamo
Community MVP
Houston Dynamo

Edgar Melchor, a rising senior at the University of Houston, is committed to making a difference in the lives of young students. Although Edgar is a full-time student, he also works as an after-school teacher and mentor at FORGE for Families, a ministry in Houston’s Third Ward that aims to holistically equip families to reach their full potential. As a lifetime soccer fan, Edgar introduced students in the after-school program to the beautiful game. Edgar believes that learning a new sport increases the confidence of program participants, and is a great way for students to re-energize before tackling their homework.

Edgar was instrumental in the establishment of the First Pass Initiative – a joint effort between the Houston Dynamo, led by midfielder Andrew Wenger, and FORGE for Families. What started as a casual pick-up game has developed into a program that teaches soccer, discipline, accountability and teamwork. The team-building exercises and passing drills Edgar organizes forge new friendships between students. Moreover, the lessons being taught on the field are reinforced in the classroom.

“Edgar challenges his students to try new things,” said Program Director Bridget Thomas. “Every day he shows up with a smile, a true embodiment of our four FORGE principles – choosing your attitude, being present, making someone’s day, and having fun. Edgar’s work ethic and positive attitude are contagious. You will often find students practicing the drills he taught them and then asking him to referee a pick-up game of soccer.”

Edgar leads by example, teaching others how to live a life filled with purpose, meaning and fun. An avid Dynamo fan, Edgar is also proud teaching a new group of young fans to chant “Let’s go, Dynamo!”

Philip Jones, Street Soccer USA Philip Jones, Street Soccer USA San Jose Earthquakes
Community MVP
San Jose Earthquakes

Philip Jones has become a tremendous asset to his community and an inspiration to disadvantaged youth through his work at Street Soccer USA. When he first joined the organization, he was struggling with homelessness and drug addiction. These hardships led to a six-month jail sentence, where he decided to change his lifestyle.

Following his sentence, Philip rejoined Street Soccer USA with a newly found focus. Upon attending the Homeless World Cup, an annual football tournament organized to end homelessness through the sport of soccer, Philip became a Street Soccer coach to encourage positive change in the lives of others. He served as a Street Soccer Coach with underserved and at-risk youth in the Western Addition and Tenderloin districts of San Francisco. In February, Philip joined the Street Soccer USA Advisory Board and now has a leadership role in the organization. Philip has grown to become an influential figure in the organization and community with his ability to connect with inner-city youth.


Djamel Zidani, RAP Youth Djamel Zidani, RAP Youth Montreal Impact
Community MVP
Montreal Impact

Djamel Zidani is a young man who wants to be a game changer in his community. Raised in a multicultural neighborhood, Ahuntsic-Cartierville, Djamel grew up playing soccer. He competed in the Ligue de Soccer Elite du Québec, the Première Ligue de Soccer du Québec, and the Réseau du Sport Etudiant du Québec, with L’Université du Québec à Montréal.

Djamel is passionate about giving back to his community through soccer. He serves on the Ahuntsic-Cartierville Youth Council and coaches youth teams in the Ahuntsic area, as well as students at the Collège de Montréal. In his free time, he volunteers at the JMG Soccer Challenge.

Furthermore, he serves as a Liaison Officer for the “Jeux de la Rue” (“Street Games”) organized by RAP Youth. The Jeux de la Rue provides underserved youth, ages 12 to 24, with the opportunity to participate in friendly sporting competitions.

Mariya Dostzadah Goodbrake, Global FC Mariya Dostzadah Goodbrake, Global FC Sporting Kansas City
Community MVP
Sporting Kansas City

Mariya Dostzadah Goodbrake is the Founder and Director of Training, of Branch Global, a training and consulting firm that delivers intercultural communication, diversity and inclusion training, and international relocation and migrant services. Branch Global was launched in 2015 as a tool to connect diverse people and populations at a grassroots level by going beneath the surface, past differences, to shine a light on deep rooted cultural, worldview and identity issues. Her multicultural background and experience in diverse cultures has equipped her to help communities come together through improved understanding of one another.

Mariya aims to bring sustainable development to underserved communities, and understands that soccer serves as a powerful vehicle to achieve these objectives. In 2013, she founded Global Futbol Community (Global FC) to inspire refugee girls and boys to harness their greatest potential as individuals and athletes. Global FC invests in the lives of refugee and at risk communities, using soccer as a conduit for youth development, family engagement and community harmony.

Tony Sanneh, The Sanneh Foundation Tony Sanneh, The Sanneh Foundation Minnesota United FC
Community MVP
Minnesota United FC

Tony Sanneh was raised by his mother in an underserved community in the East Side of St. Paul. As a child, Tony dreamt of becoming a professional soccer player. Tony learned that dreams can come true – he had the opportunity to play professional soccer.

After retirement, Tony established The Sanneh Foundation (TSF) in 2003 to serve the needs of youth in the Twin Cities metro area through a holistic approach. The Foundation’s mission is to empower youth by supporting and promoting educational attainment through in-school and after-school support, improve lives by providing programs that strengthen physical health, wellness, and social and emotional development, and unite communities by advancing diversity, equity and community well-being.

Using soccer as a catalyst, TSF’s innovative programs include free soccer camps, the Haitian Initiative to combat the cycle of poverty, Dreamline Corp. to provide academic support and encourage students to stay in school, Kick It Back to recycle sports equipment, College Prep 101 to support student-athletes, and the International Sports Programming Initiative Exchange Program. In addition, TSF revitalized the Conway Community Center, which provides area youth with a safe place to play before and after school. The Center now has a community garden, and provides free meals, youth soccer and academic programs at no cost.

Since its inception, TSF has impacted the local community with 85 hours of weekly programming, 30,000 hours of academic support,served 33,000 nutritious meals each year, and hosted 85 soccer camps for 7,500 campers.

Mark Lund, Special Olympics Texas Mark Lund, Special Olympics Texas FC Dallas
Community MVP
FC Dallas

Upon moving to Dallas in 1994, Mark Lund was searching for an opportunity to become a contributing member of his community. Without any prior connection to Special Olympics or soccer, Mark was enticed by the beneficial work of the organization.

Mark has volunteered with Special Olympics Texas for 13 years. He currently serves as an Area 10 Key Volunteer, and is the Competition Director for Soccer in the Greater Dallas Area. In this role, Mark organizes and directs all Special Olympics soccer events for area competitions. He was instrumental in developing a partnership between Special Olympics Texas and the Texas Christian University Women’s Soccer Team. The Horned Frogs just hosted their fifth annual spring soccer clinic for Area 10 and Area 11 athletes.

Mark also played a major role in building a relationship between Special Olympics Texas and FC Dallas.  Thanks to Mark, FC Dallas and Special Olympics Texas have been active members of the Special Olympics Unified Sports Soccer Exchange Program since its inception in 2013.  Mark currently serves as a liaison to the FC Dallas Unified Sports soccer team.  Additionally, Mark serves as Director of the Texas State Games, and is continuously looking for ways to improve the experience of all athletes.

Stanley Harmon, Central Brooklyn Youth Soccer Stanley Harmon, Central Brooklyn Youth Soccer New York City FC
Community MVP
New York City FC

Stanley Harmon has a personal commitment to the athletic development, educational enrichment, safety, and health of youth in Central Brooklyn. For more than 30 years, Stan has been changing the lives of young men through the sport of soccer.

With years of coaching experience, Stan has taken on the role of Director and Youth Soccer Coach for Central Brooklyn Youth Soccer, handling the organization’s administration and coaching the U-8 travel team. Stan supports his players on and off the field. He organizes tutoring sessions, international trips, service opportunities, and community outings, such as peace marches. Stan also engages players’ parents in programming and events.

As a result of his mentorship, Stan has enabled hundreds of young men the opportunity to pursue a higher education and play soccer at the college and professional level for club and country.

Additionally, Stan organizes soccer clinics for youth in detention through the New York City’s Administration for Children Services.

Sergeant Chris Cognac, Police Youth Futsal Sergeant Chris Cognac, Police Youth Futsal LA Galaxy
Community MVP
LA Galaxy

Sergeant Chris Cognac is a 22-year veteran of the Hawthorne Police Department, currently assigned to the Community Affairs Unit. He has previously served in uniform patrol, the Cooperative Resource Unit, Aviation Bureau, Undercover Narcotics Supervisor and as a Sexual Assault & Crimes Against Children Detective.

Sgt. Cognac firmly believes police officers should have a positive influence in the communities they serve. Consequently, Sgt. Cognac is one of the co-creators of the highly successful international community policing project called, “Coffee with a Cop”, which is a mentoring program for area police and high-school students. In less than five years, Coffee with a Cop events have been hosted in more than 3,000 communities, in all 50 states, and is one of the most effective community policing programs across the country.

Sgt. Cognac works diligently with his community and the LA Galaxy to provide area youth with safe spaces to play soccer. He has successfully combined his passions of service and sport to provide soccer programming to the underserved community of Hawthorne. Sgt. Cognac was instrumental in constructing three futsal courts and has started soccer (futsal) programs for LA youth. In partnership with the Galaxy and striker Gyasi Zardes, Sgt. Cognac recently procured two more futsal courts soon to be constructed.

Chris Rue, Plantation Athletic League Chris Rue, Plantation Athletic League Orlando City SC
Community MVP
Orlando City SC

Chris Rue has been playing and coaching soccer for the Plantation Athletic League for more than twenty years. About eight years ago, Chris started a summer futsal program for local area youth, providing them with a positive, productive outlet during the summer months at no cost. The program prides itself in identifying, nurturing, and developing young soccer players in northern Palm Beach County through a specific curriculum designed to give players the essential skills, both on and off the field, to succeed at higher levels. Most recently, Chris started Core Performance Crew (CPC), a nine-week training program designed to get players in shape for an upcoming season. Chris offers this program free of charge for those who can’t afford to pay the associated fees.

Those who have participated in Chris’ program have not only improved their technical soccer skills, but have developed friendships with each other that extend off the soccer field. He frequently hears from previous athletes who have grown up and left the area for college. This is a testament to his impact on his athletes, not only on their sports careers as a coach, but as a friend and mentor.

Lusenii Watson, Lusenii Watson, "Coach Lu" FirstWorks Soccer Atlanta United FC
Community MVP
Atlanta United FC

Lusenii Watson wanted to share his passion for soccer with kids from low-income communities to inspire lives. Three years ago, Coach Lu began volunteering in one of the most impoverished communities in Atlanta with City of Refuge,  a non-profit, benevolent ministry. He was appointed as the Director of Soccer. In this position, Coach Lu stood up soccer teams for youth from the homeless shelter and the adjacent neighborhood. Because of his desire to expand this work to the larger community, he started FirstWorks Soccer Inc.

The FirstWorks Soccer program focuses on the fundamentals of soccer, life skills, character-building and community service. FirstWorks’ mission is to leave a lasting impact on every child and family. Under Coach Lu’s guidance, the program has leveraged the growing popularity of soccer to reach low-income and at-risk children and families throughout Atlanta. He engaged local business and civic officials who were instrumental in securing new funding streams that offered enhanced programming. Presently, the FirstWorks program impacts more than 200 through support to neighborhood schools, community teams, and parks and recreation programs.

Coach Lu takes a personal interest in each player, encouraging and challenging them to excel on the field and in school, while laying the groundwork for a better future. Recently, he decided to leave his full-time job to devote more time to the program’s development and the youth it supports. His willingness to assist young people in need of mentorship and guidance is what truly sets him apart. On any given day, you may find Coach Lu working with students on school assignments, introducing program participants to new career opportunities or integrating local business owners into the FirstWorks program as mentors. In addition, Coach Lu has developed a specific program that trains and equips players as certified referees, so that they have a source of income and marketable skills.  He has also established a strong relationship with two universities that run camps for the youth or allow them to participate in game day activities to motivate them to success. Players and parents are very excited about the opportunities that soccer is providing in the Atlanta community, all thanks to Coach Lu.

Alicia Luciani, Ontario Soccer Association Alicia Luciani, Ontario Soccer Association Toronto FC
Community MVP
Toronto FC

Alicia Luciani has been playing soccer since the age of 6, and continues to play competitively with the Islington Rangers in Toronto. She discovered her love and passion for coaching children in 2013, when she led a 10-13 year old co-ed house league team in Toronto. Inspired to do more in youth soccer, she joined SC Toronto’s coaching staff, and soon became the assistant coach for SC Toronto’s first ever Girl’s OPDL team, and head coach of the U8 development team, experiences that were fundamental to growing her coaching skill set. 

Her proudest accomplishment to date is co-founding Nutmeg Soccer in 2016, an exciting weekly program which provides free, fun, and safe soccer training and educational sessions for underserved children and youth in Toronto. As the head coach and director for Nutmeg, through her positive attitude and leadership, she ensures the continuous promotion of the values of friendship, fun, respect, equity, education, and teamwork. Nutmeg is continually growing its capacity serve many children in the Alexandra Park neighborhood, and in addition to recently expanding to include a girls-only program on top of to the cornerstone co-ed program, Alicia hopes to lead more program expansion soon. 

Sandy Teel, Covenant House Vancouver Sandy Teel, Covenant House Vancouver Vancouver Whitecaps FC
Community MVP
Vancouver Whitecaps FC

Sandy Teel is living proof that acts of kindness can change lives. Her son, Andrew Teel, spent his early childhood growing up in many different foster homes. Some of his foster experiences were very negative, but Andrew’s life changed forever when he was adopted by Sandy and her husband. Sandy has helped Andrew overcome the negative experiences of his childhood by sharing her passion for soccer and helping him find positive ways to give back to their community.

Sandy and Andrew both avidly support Vancouver Whitecaps FC, as well as the club’s #BuckUp for Mental Health campaign. #BuckUp benefits Covenant House Vancouver, an organization that provides housing and support to over 1,300 homeless and at-risk youth each year. Sandy and Andrew have also raised funds for Covenant House Vancouver by organizing the Twoonies for Teens campaign. To date, Twoonies for Teens has raised over $49,000 for Covenant House Vancouver.

The Teels genuinely believe that every life is valuable, and recognize that Andrew could easily have been one of the homeless and at-risk youth that they are so passionate about helping. Consequently, Sandy and Andrew have dedicated their lives to helping disadvantaged young people build brighter futures.

Chris Solomons, YESsoccer Chris Solomons, YESsoccer Chicago Fire
Community MVP
Chicago Fire

Chris Solomons’ passion for making a difference in communities developed during a trip to Malawi, Africa as a teenager. During his visit, Chris had the opportunity to develop youth sports programs in impoverished communities which provided participants with a safe, enriching, and positive environment. This experience illustrated the profound impact that sports can have on kids. Since then, he has vowed to pursue a career in sports-based youth development.

Currently, Chris serves as Program Manager and Community Ambassador for YESsoccer. In 2016, he executed 600 free clinics in five different states, totaling nearly 2,000 hours of free sports programming for more than 30,000 participants.

Chris’ passion for the beautiful game is evidenced by his dedication to the Chicago Fire Soccer Club.  As a P.L.A.Y.S. (Participate, Learn, Achieve, Youth Soccer) program volunteer, he is responsible for designing coaching curriculums and evaluations, while also attending practices at each of the 20 participating schools. In addition, Chris dedicates his free time to the Chicago Fire Foundation, the charitable arm of the Chicago Fire.

Antonio Suarez, Adams City Middle School Antonio Suarez, Adams City Middle School Colorado Rapids
Community MVP
Colorado Rapids

What Adams City Middle School in Commerce City, Colorado may lack in significant funds and resources, it undoubtebly makes up for in spirit and passion thanks to Antonio Suárez.

For the past three years, Antonio has served as the coach of the female soccer team.  While his focus has been on teaching the beautiful game that he loves, Antonio has become much more than a coach.  His dedication to not only the team, but the school has offered the opportunity for Antonio to teach life skills to his athletes which offer valuable lessons that can be used on and off the pitch. Thanks to Antonio’s persistence and support, the Adams City Middle School girls soccer team has qualified for the State Championship in each of its last two years.

Antonio is man that exemplifies character, effort, and compassion, and his contributions on and off the field make him a deserving candidate to be a Community MVP.


See what the communities are saying about this year's contest


    2013 WINNER
    “I will be donating the money from the contest to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, a cause that is personally very important to me and my family. I would like to thank everyone for voting and for all of the incredible support we’ve received these past two weeks”



    BOBBY SAMRA was chosen as VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC’s Community MVP for his work as an educator and a soccer coach. He is a vice principal in Surrey, BC and has coached soccer for over 25 years. He first started coaching straight out of high school and fell in love with teaching and working with kids. Since then, he has coached soccer at every school he has been at and has even had former students return to help him. Most recently, Samra developed a soccer program with Central City Soccer Club and the Surrey School District for kids with mental health issues.

    2014 WINNER



    BILL YOACHIM of Nanaimo, British Columbia was selected as VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC’s Community MVP for co-founding “Hope and Health”, a soccer-based organization that encourages and inspires kids to overcome adversity, in partnership with Vancouver Whitecaps FC.

    Bill works with indigenous Canadian children known as First Nations. He saw how many in the community struggled, and he co-created “Hope and Health” to provide support and inspiration for these kids to live healthier, more active lives.

    2015 WINNER
    “A giant thank you to MLS, the Timbers and the supporters of Yamhill Carlton,” said Wright. “YCSC and our supporters, near and far, have no fear of hard work and are passionate about making a difference. Together they truly exemplify the word community and I am proud of what we have accomplished.”



    KAREN WRIGHT was selected as the PORTLAND TIMBERS’ Community MVP for founding the Yamhill Carlton Soccer Club (YCSC) in 2010, and growing the club from 14 local players to over 300 registered YCSC/OYSA club members, and 25 registered coaches. In 2014, over 4,000 hours were logged by more than 100 committed soccer volunteers of all ages for numerous charitable programs and events.

    2016 WINNER



    At the age of 23, Stephen Schirra set out on a mission to use sport as a vehicle to create positive change and to make a difference in the world. In an effort to merge his passion for travel and the game of soccer, Stephen decided to bring a ball with him wherever he went. What followed were stunning shots of him freestyling in front of famous landmarks and beautiful locales. He started a blog called Around the Worlds, Around the World, and an Instagram account filled with gorgeous images from his travels. The name and his vision materialized into Around the Worlds, Around the World – a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to teaching soccer to underprivileged children all over the world.

    Vote for your Community MVP finalist to help them win $25,000!