|The White House
President George W. Bush
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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
June 13, 2003
U.S. Soccer Community Answering Call to Aid Children in Iraq
USA Freedom Corps
Today, the USA Freedom Corps announced that it will be working with some of the largest youth-serving organizations in the country such as America's Promise, Camp Fire USA, YMCA of the USA, and Youth Service America to help American youth find ways they can share hope with children in Iraq through an effort of the U.S. soccer community to send them soccer equipment.
Through the leadership of Major League Soccer (MLS), the U.S. soccer community is offering soccer balls and equipment to Iraqi youth. Prior to the war, Iraqi children had only limited access to the sports opportunities and equipment that American youth enjoy. During the massive rebuilding and humanitarian effort underway in Iraq, this effort shares some extra hope and compassion with young people in Iraq from their friends in the United States. MLS has already collected more than 60,000 soccer balls bound for Baghdad from its teams, ownership, fans, and equipment suppliers.
As a next step in the effort to help Iraqi youth, the U.S. Soccer Foundation has established a fund that allows Americans to contribute to the purchase of basic soccer equipment for soccer and youth clubs and schools in Iraq. The fund will accept contributions from individuals and groups, but is particularly intended to give American young people an opportunity to collect, earn, or save money to help youth in Iraq. Information on the fund will be available at www.ussoccerfoundation.org.
The President's Greeting
Last week President Bush shared a greeting with soccer fans recognizing the efforts of the U.S. soccer community to answer the President's call to serve others by reaching out to the children of Iraq. The greeting aired in connection with the grand opening of the U.S. national training center for amateur, national and professional soccer, and will be broadcast again in all MLS stadiums this weekend. The following are excerpts:
"I am proud that each day, life is getting better for the people of Iraq. Through the hard work of engineers, government and industry experts, members of our Armed Forces, and humanitarian aid workers from America and the international community, we are helping to make life there freer, more peaceful, and more prosperous. I want to thank America's soccer community for its generosity and leadership, for giving our children a way to offer hope and decency to the children of Iraq, and for helping to show the people of Iraq the true heart of America."
"Every American child can find a way to participate in this or another effort to help Iraqi youth. Share money you have saved. Go out and earn a dollar, or collect from your community. Through your generosity, the children of Iraq will see the love and compassion of America knows no age, ethnic, or geographic limit."