soccer Archives - Athletes for Hope

Alessandra Sachs, Brazilian National Soccer

Alessandra Sachs, Brazilian National Soccer

Athletes for Hope would not exist without the drive, passion and dedication by athletes all over the world to make the world a better place. In our Member Athlete Spotlight series, it is our hope that the public will get to know our athletes, learn about the philanthropy and advocacy work they’re doing and understand what motivates them to use their platform for good. 

What is your name, sport, team?

My name is Alessandra Sachs, Soccer, Rivelino Soccer Club/Brazilian National Team

What inspired you to give back to your community/commit time to service?

I’m a huge tennis fan and one of the players I admired growing up was Arthur Ashe. He was a trailblazer, being the first black man to win the US open, Wimbledon and the Australian Open. I never had the opportunity to watch him play but was fortunate enough to have one interaction with him I will always remember. It was the 1988 US Open and Ashe was on a payphone.  I approached him to ask for an autograph. He was super nice and was very interested in me and my tennis journey. That being said, I love his quote: “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” A few years back I wanted to give back and did not know where to go or what to do. Like the quote says, I just started looking for little volunteering gigs here and there.

What cause(s) are you passionate about? Why?

The causes that I am most passionate about are adaptive sports and eliminating food insecurity.  First, I believe everyone should have the opportunity to play a sport and be physically active no matter their physical limitations. It makes me feel elated when everyone is able to play together. The need to eliminate food insecurity became important to me because I see homeless everyday on the job. It definitely makes me aware that it could happen to anyone at any time. This year, especially due to the pandemic, we are looking at approximately 42 million Americans who will experience food insecurity. To think that so many people do not know when they will have their next meal really inspires me to do something to help.

What has inspired you or what has been your favorite moment when giving back to the community?

2020 was a unique year and I wanted to do something distinctive to celebrate my 46th birthday. I decided that I would run 4 hours and 6 minutes on my birthday day. 2020 also showed us that things can turn on a dime and so I decided that I wanted to help the homeless community in Phoenix. I went to Social Spin, which is run by a good friend, and asked what she saw what was needed in the community. She said that toiletries and new socks are always items that the unsheltered community are in need of.

As Mr. Rogers said, “we all have different gifts, so we all have different ways of saying to the world who we are.”

I used my resources from different communities that I’m part of and we raised over $300 which gave me the opportunity to buy numerous toiletries and hygiene items.

This moment was so memorable and I never thought in a million years I would have ran 4 hours and 6 minutes (17.5 miles).

The Seattle Reign Visits Camp Kesem

Summer is time for camp and fun, but for some children having a good time is the last thing on their minds. That’s why Camp Kesem was founded nearly 20 years ago. Camp Kesem, operates free summer camps for children who have been impacted by a parent’s cancer. Camp Kesem has expanded to 116 chapters in 42 states across the country. Our athletes have been spending the day with Camp Kesem campers for several years now. It’s a big ask to have an athlete spend the whole day and often travel long distances to go on a visit. This year, the Seattle Reign lead by Megan Oyster, was up for the task!

“We had the best time spending the day at Camp Kesem!! The camp leaders were so welcoming and gave us a tour of all of Camp Kesem right when we arrived. We got to experience some of the fun activities that they do each day. We were dancing and singing along to camp songs a few minutes after we arrived. We also had so much fun playing soccer with everyone! We set up a few small goals and just played endless games. Everyone was giving it their best effort. It was definitely a day to remember and all of us from the Reign are so happy we made the trip!”

Thanks to Megan Oyster, Rosie White, Morgan Proffitt, Christen Westphal and Sammy Jo Prudhomme from the Seattle Reign for spending the day with the kids. If you’re an athlete and are interested in getting involved in a Camp Kesem next year, please contact us!

One Nation. One Team.

It’s World Cup time and I’m so excited to cheer on Team USA! My name is Megan Oyster and I am a professional women’s soccer player for the Seattle Reign and in the off-season, an athlete ambassador for Athletes for Hope. I feel so lucky to cheer on this year’s national team. I’ve been fortunate enough to share the field with the majority of this 23-player squad and I can tell you first hand, it’s filled with absolute studs.

These women are the types of players that you love as teammates but can’t stand playing against. They are the ones your coach creates entire PowerPoints about filled with their strengths and wishes you the best of luck defending. As we inch closer to kickoff, I wanted to tell you a little more about the dedication, resilience, and tenacity of these incredible players from my perspective – as a teammate.

Let’s start with Sam Mewis. She was my college teammate and one of the main reasons our team at UCLA was so successful. Her strengths are endless and it’s been evident in the recent World Cup send-off series where she’s scored three goals in three games. One of Sam’s biggest assets is her long-range shot. She can shoot from anywhere and everywhere. When we were at UCLA, Sam would always gather up balls after practice and shoot from a variety of angles and distances, one ball after another, rep after rep. Now when I see Sam rip a bomb from 30 yards out in the same spots she practiced, I’m not surprised at all and I also can’t stop cheering. She has earned each and every one of those goals.

Megan Rapinoe is another major weapon for the U.S. and is also my current teammate with Reign FC in the NWSL. She is a free-kick master and I can assure you that did not just happen by chance. After training, while everyone else is cooling down, “Pinoe” will set up dummies and challenge our coaches to a free-kick competition. She hits unreal benders, curved and dipping shots, and lasers to the corner. She tries it all. Sometimes the ball will sail high above the goal making the rest of laugh, but when it comes time to take those game-changing free kicks, she’s the one drilling it into the back of the net.

Lastly, I’m so happy to see Ali Krieger on the squad. She’s a fan favorite and someone I had the opportunity to play with my first year in the NWSL with the Washington Spirit. I was a true rookie and doing my best to learn how to be a professional. Thanks to Ali’s leadership, I had the best example to show me the ropes. She cared about every single detail of training. The perfect texture of a pass, how to drive a ball smoothly on the grass, the tempo of play, how to focus during stretching, how to take care of your body before and after training, even how one should stand when the coach is talking. She does it all, every second of every day. When I see Krieger about to go 1v1 with the some of the best forwards in the world, I think to myself, this forward has no chance.

Needless to say, these women are more than ready for the challenge ahead. The competition is going to be the best yet and the games are going to be thrilling to watch. I’m deeply inspired by all of the hard work that these players have put in to prepare for this opportunity and I can’t wait to watch it all pay off!

And thank you Athletes for Hope for always cheering on women’s soccer and for uniting us in community service! The real MVPs!

By Reign FC Defender, Megan Oyster

Soccer Player Megan Oyster Visits Marathon Kids Boston

Athletes for Hope intern and professional soccer player for the Boston Breakers, Megan Oyster, visited the kids of Orchard Gardens School chapter of Marathon Kids in Boston last week. Marathon Kids and Athletes for Hope are partnering to help introduce kids to the sport of running. This mission resonated with Megan and she wanted to get involved. Giving back is at Megan’s core and it shows! We sat down with Megan and debriefed with her on her visit this week.

AFH:
Why you wanted to give back?

Megan:

Marathon Kids sounded like an awesome program to be a part of. I love how the kids set a goal and go after it and I wanted to be a part of their team and show them that we can all do it together.

AFH:
What you did at your visit?

Megan:
I arrived at Orchard Gardens School and met up with Daniel Schultz who was the coach for the Marathon Kids group. He guided me to the classroom where all of the kids were waiting. I introduced myself to the kids and shared some information about my soccer career and why it’s important to take care of your body and eat healthy. They asked me a few questions about soccer, informed me that they eat lots of fruits and vegetables, and even challenged me to a push up contest! After we finished talking it was time to head out and run. I lead the kids in a warm up that I do with my soccer team and then we started running and counting our laps. The kids raced me, we held hands as we ran together, and I cheered them along as we ran around the track area. We finished up our last few laps and then the teacher called us in. We all headed back to the classroom and then counted the sticks they had collected while running and colored in the circles on their Marathon Kids logs. One circle was equivalent to 5 laps so most of them colored in 4 circles! They were all so proud of themselves and overwhelmed with how much they had ran! We finished up the day by taking a group picture and then it was time for me to head home.

megan oyster marathon kids 2

AFH:
We were told the kids improved their laps run while you were there. Tell us about that.

Megan:
It was the second time running for this group at Orchard Gardens and they informed me that the last time they ran they did 4 laps. I challenged them to beat that score and work really hard while I was there with them. They ended up running an average of 20 laps that day! They were so happy and proud and told me they were going to beat their score again next time!

AFH:
Do you have to give back again soon? And if so what are your thoughts about causes that interest you?

Megan:
Yes, I definitely want to give back again soon. I think it’s important to go out and support causes that interest you. There are so many positive results from going out and giving back, especially when it comes to kids. They are so transparent with their emotions. You can see it on their face how much it means to them to have someone there to support them and guide them. I can’t wait to go back again!

Great job, Megan! We can’t wait to see what else you do in the Boston Community. Megan’s work serves as a testament to the power of athlete involvement in communities. We encourage all interested in Marathon Kids, or other volunteer positions, to contact our team for more information. We can’t wait to find the best fit for you.

megan oyster marathon kids 3

AFH Trains Houston Area Athletes

AFH visited the Houston Dash, Houston’s pro women’s soccer team, and the Houston Scrapyard Dawgs, the area’s professional softball team, to present a 1.0 workshop. The teams were very responsive to our message about the importance of giving back to the community and individual members signed up to become part of AFH. Outreach has already started with the teams and they’ve been very responsive. The Dawgs and the Dash will work with Active Schools and Starlight Hospitals among other connections with non-profits from the Houston area. We look forward to working with the teams as a whole and individual members in the near future.

Washington Spirit Visits MedStar Georgetown University Hospital

Members of the Washington Spirit spent over two hours connecting with patients at the MedStar Georgetown University Hospital in Washington D.C. on May 19th. Thanks to the efforts of our incredible partner Hope for Henry, players were able to spread some cheer by handing out t-shirts, delicious cupcakes and colorful balloons. 

Some highlights from the visit included teammates Gloria Douglas and Didi Haracic engaged in a dance-off with a 3-year-old patient who insisted on busting a move to Beyonce. Another group of players lifted the spirits of a patient and her family by watching funny home videos in the playroom. Others went room-to-room handing out swag that was met with big smiles and excitement by all. 

Having had such a great experience with these inspiring and wonderful kids, the team is already looking forward to their next event. As one of our most engaged groups of athletes, the Washington Spirit continues to brighten the lives of children throughout the community one visit at a time!