National Women’s Soccer League fans were not able to wear matching merchandise and gather together to cheer on their favorite teams in person this season, but they were able to unite through one common activity: fundraising.
In the same way that fans were able to keep the spirit of the NWSL alive and well during a time when the COVID-19 pandemic effectively eliminated in-person events, these fans have been able to rally and fundraise for charitable organizations addressing a variety of mental health and social justice issues. The NWSL community made philanthropy a priority this year through jersey auctions and pledge drives.
One of the most notable acts of charitable giving was through the Activating Communities Through Support (ACTS) NWSL Challenge Cup Fundraiser, an effort that collected over $27,569 in pledges for the Urban Indian Center of Salt Lake (UICSL), a community-based clinic that offers accessible, culturally responsive healthcare programs and services for the Native American population in Utah. Partnering with Prideraiser.org, ACTS was able to encourage soccer fans to pledge money for UICSL for every goal their local NWSL club scored during the 2020 NWSL Challenge Cup.
ACTS, which is a coalition of supporters groups from all nine current NWSL clubs, formed when members of the Independent Supporters Council met to discuss concerns heading into the NWSL’s Challenge Cup this past summer. The hardships brought upon by the COVID-19 pandemic encouraged members of these supporters groups to look for ways to support the community in Utah, where the Challenge Cup was held.
“It was brought up that none of us were going to games,” said Jen Muller, one of the leaders of Sky Blue FC supporters group Cloud 9. “We have all this time…Why don’t we do a collective fundraiser? All of our teams will be in one spot; we’ll do something local to Utah.”
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