Credit: Cody Cervenka
The NWSL Champion Washington Spirit will feature DC SCORES, an award-winning afterschool program and community institution, on the front of their 2022 Challenge Cup jerseys. These kits represent an emphatic statement about the club’s commitment to the DC community.
“What’s more important to the city we call home than its children?” said Spirit President Ben Olsen. “The poet-athletes of DC SCORES aren’t just future Spirit players and supporters, they are the future of this city. When they see our players representing DC SCORES on their jerseys this spring, we want them to feel part of the club. We want them to see themselves out there on the pitch.”
DC SCORES serves over 3,000 “poet-athletes” at 60 Title 1 elementary and middle schools across the city. Kids play soccer year round, write and perform original poetry in the fall, and design and execute service projects to better their communities in the spring. The poetry season culminates in a 3-day Poetry Slam, the largest in the region, and the fall soccer championships take place on field and under the lights at Audi Field. The program is completely free, and DC SCORES provides everything kids need to participate.
“I can’t even imagine how kids felt cooped up and isolated during COVID,” said Spirit Forward and 2021 NWSL Golden Boot-winner Ashley Hatch. “Of course they wanted to get back out on the field so badly, but they also have so much to say! I love DC SCORES because poet-athletes can express themselves not just physically, but creatively and emotionally as well. It’s so important right now, and we’re incredibly proud to be repping them on our jerseys.”
Ashley was one of dozens of Spirit players that came out to Audi Field in summer 2020 to pack thousands of kits to send home to DC SCORES poet-athletes to ensure they had everything they needed for virtual programming. Over the course of the last two years, Spirit players and staff have stepped up for DC SCORES no matter the circumstances. They dropped into virtual soccer practices, judged online poetry performances, and even donated proceeds from last year’s third-place Challenge Cup finish. When in-person programming returned last summer, Spirit players past and present were there, helping out at summer camp, taking photos at our annual Fall Frenzy, donating equipment, and delivering trophies at the 2021 Poetry Slam.
The world needs more poet-athletes—people who are physically healthy, emotionally strong, and who have the skills, the platform, and the inclination to speak up and act out against injustice. The Spirit’s 2022 Community Kit is a commitment to helping DC SCORES build a generation of poet-athletes, and to embodying the characteristics of a poet-athletes throughout the 2022 season and beyond.
Want to support DC SCORES? There are many ways to do so:
Donate— We rely on contributions to offer our program at no cost to kids and families. We also have an active waitlist of 10+ DC schools, and the only thing that is keeping us from serving more poet-athletes is funding.
Sponsor—Get your company involved! Sponsor a school, sponsor an event, play in SCORES Cup, our corporate charity soccer tournament. For more information, contact Tony at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Volunteer— We rely on volunteer referees for our weekly elementary school game, and we need hundreds of volunteers to support our major program events each year. Have a special skill that could benefit us (photography, web design, marketing, etc)? We’d love to hear from you.
Follow us—Follow us on Twitter, IG, Facebook, and Linkedin for updates and opportunities to get involved.