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March 21, 2013 at 7:02 PM

Two ex-Sounders to feature in community event hosted by the Gates Foundation

A couple familiar faces will be in the community Saturday, as former Sounders Taylor Graham and Roger Levesque take part in “Family Day: Kick it Forward” — an event put on by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Visitor Center (440 5th Ave N., Seattle, WA 98109) from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

You can check out more information on Facebook.

The event is free and open to everyone with the goal of celebrating soccer as a catalyst for community engagement, at the local and global levels.

Graham (Sounders FC manager of business operations) and Levesque (UW graduate student) will be among a group of guest speakers. Other participating organizations include: Sounders FC, Street Soccer Seattle, America Scores Seattle, sOccket ball.

“The Gates Foundation reached out to us … and they’re trying to use soccer as a vehicle to push humanitarian causes and to bring light to a couple of organizations who already have roots in Seattle,” Graham said.

“They’re trying to bring kids in, brings families in, and use soccer to push our positive messages about what’s going on the world and what they can do in their own city. There are a lot of organizations nearby that are making huge strides and bringing awareness to things that are going on worldwide. That’s one of the things that I’m going to be talking about — what we did in the offseason with our trip to Tanzania, why we went to Tanzania, who went, what did we do, what were the organizations that we partnered with and why the Washington Global Health Alliance was for us the conduit to be able to get those places on the map.”

Some hands-on activities at Saturday’s event will include making soccer balls from recycled materials and learning how kicking a ball can generate electricity. Attendees will be able to experience a pickup street soccer game and watch players from the Homeless World Cup demonstrate their skills.

“I’m excited to be a part of it,” Levesque told “Soccer is a great way to connect – locally and on a bigger scale.  It’s a great way to get people on the same page and from there a lot of lessons can be learned using the platform of soccer. That can be in giving back, on the health side … there are a lot of different directions you can go and there are a lot of different organizations out there that are making a huge impact using that model.”

Here is some background from a news release:

Soccer is the most popular sport in the world, and has become a fixture of Seattle’s culture. But what many don’t realize is that futból – as it’s known across the globe – connects communities and encourages civic engagement in regions from Africa to Asia to Central America. In fact, soccer has become a catalyst for community and global development work including nutrition, HIV/AIDS education, malaria prevention, polio eradication, homelessness, literacy and youth leadership through the collaboration of nonprofits, businesses and professional leagues across the globe.


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