Team Volkswagen kicks off Drive Bigger program to get charities back on the field

As the world works toward a new normal in the COVID-19 era, sports like soccer have had to adapt and try new approaches. With teams and players slowly returning to the field, the demands on soccer-related charities remain high, with programs delayed or cancelled and needs greater than ever.

To help address those challenges, Volkswagen of America has worked with U.S. Soccer Men’s and Women’s National Team players who serve as brand ambassadors on Team Volkswagen. These ten ambassadors have chosen nine charities from across the country to support with a contribution from Volkswagen, to aid their communities and help support the sport in America.

“Volkswagen welcomes our teammates from the U.S. Men’s and Women’s National Teams, and we’re thrilled to donate to organizations that our athletes are passionate about,” said Duncan Movassaghi, executive vice president, sales and marketing at Volkswagen of America. “Building the game at the grassroots level while giving back to our communities is the essence of what we mean by Drive Bigger.”

“As a brand that has made strides to support the growth of soccer in the United States and empower and encourage young girls and women to pursue their dreams, I could not be more proud to partner with a brand that aligns with my fundamental values,” said Carli Lloyd, U.S. Women’s National Team co-captain, two-time FIFA World Cup Champion and two-time FIFA Player of the Year.

From left to right: Jordan Morris, Ali Krieger, Crystal Dunn, Gyazi Zardes, Abby Dahlkemper

Tyler Adams (MNT), Crystal Dunn (WNT), America SCORES: America SCORES works in schools across the country using soccer as an outlet to inspire urban youth to lead healthy lives, be engaged students, and build confidence for a better future.

“America SCORES is dedicated to making sure our 12,000 poet-athletes across the nation feel safe, secure and connected during this unprecedented time,” said Bethany Henderson, President, America SCORES National Network. The aid “will go a long way toward helping make sure we’re taking care of the kids who need it most, at a time when they need us most.”

“I’m excited to partner with an organization like VW that is committed to growing soccer in the U.S.,” said Adams, “and allows its ambassadors to help charitable causes focused on sport, like America SCORES.”

Abby Dahlkemper (WNT), Grassroot Soccer: This New Hampshire-based group leverages the power of soccer to educate, inspire, and mobilize youth to overcome their greatest health challenges, and be agents for change in their communities. Dahlkemper has worked with Grassroot Soccer since 2019, helping raise money to support more than 850 youths with critical health education and access to health services.

Ali Krieger (WNT), Women and Girls in Soccer (WAGS): This Washington, the D.C-based group seeks to empower women and girls from all over the world through soccer to realize their full potential, supports six unique programs that promote confidence, strength, character and leadership in a variety of ways. Krieger is an alumnus of WAGS from when the organization operated as a girl’s youth soccer league. Her team, Prince William Sparklers, coached by her father Ken Krieger, won multiple league championships during her youth soccer career.

Carli Lloyd (WNT), The Women’s Sports Foundation: The goal of the WSF is to ensure that every girl and woman can unlock her potential through the benefit of sports and physical activity. It supports girls’ and women’s soccer dreams via community programs, travel and training funding, and advocacy for gender equity at the professional level.

Lloyd has a long history with the group, taking part in many WSF initiatives such as #WeKeepPlaying, a digital conversation to discuss resilience and mental health for young athletes during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s an amazing group of people who aim to increase female athletic participation and teach the benefits of sport to create a long-lasting impact beyond the playing field,” she said.

From left to right: Tyler Adams, Samantha Mewis, Carli Lloyd, Kelley O’Hara, Weston McKennie

Samantha Mewis (WNT), Hidden Gems: Mewis has been working for two years with Hidden Gems, a Chicago-based organization that connects girls who play soccer in low-income areas with professional athletes. The goal is to use the power of teamwork and soccer as an equalizer to increase young girls’ perceptions of their ability on and off the field.

Weston McKennie (MNT), The Steve Nash Foundation: The foundation works to increase access to critical needs health and education resources for underserved children. McKennie has played in the foundation’s annual soccer Showdown and SNF Charity Shield soccer tournament, which raises money for SNF’s community programs and services for kids.

“We’re so appreciative of VW’s support, and of Wes’ recognition of our work for kids,” said Steve Nash. “As a young athlete, for him to show so much awareness, empathy and dedication to improving conditions in our communities lend a lot of hope for the growth and long tradition of athletes compelling social change.”

Jordan Morris (MNT), The Jordan Morris Foundation. Morris was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when he was nine years old. A two-time MLS Cup Championship and Gold Cup player, Morris uses soccer to educate, inspire, and support the lives of children with T1D.

“Through soccer, we inspire kids with T1D to not let anything hold them back from accomplishing their goals,” he said.

Kelley O’Hara (WNT), The Kelley O’Hara Scholarship Fund. The fund was created by Kelley’s youth club, AFC Lightning in Peachtree City, Ga., in honor of winning the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup. The scholarship fund aims to support two female players at the club to ease the financial constraints of playing at the collegiate level.

“Kelley is a great role model and with Volkswagen’s help, she’s able to give back to the community and youth soccer club that shaped her dreams of becoming a USWNT player,” said Steve Muccillo AFC Lightning Executive Director. “We’re very grateful to Kelley and Volkswagen for helping our current players chase their dreams too.”

Gyasi Zardes (MNT), The Columbus Crew SC Foundation: The Crew SC Foundation has long focused on improving the lives of youth in their community through Soccer. One program is Soccer for Success, a free after-school program dedicated to helping children establish healthy habits and develop critical life skills through caring coach-mentors and family engagement.