The Washington Spirit announced today they are teaming up with former USWNT member Michelle Akers to help raise money and awareness for her horse rescue organization, the Michelle Akers Horse Rescue & Outreach.
“There are a lot of people who talk about things,” said Washington Spirit owner Bill Lynch about Akers. “You seldom find someone who is so squarely committed to making a difference.”
Yesterday the Spirit tweeted out “Pass it on! Washington Spirit is collaborating with a major U.S. Soccer star. Details to come tomorrow at noon!” and fifteen minutes prior to this deadline the club updated both their Twitter and Facebook statuses to with a little pre-announcement hint: “This player finished her playing career with 105 goals, 36 assists and 153 National team caps.” A logical assumption would have it that most Washington Spirit followers immediately took to Google to investigate this information. For those who did, they would have discovered that the player in question is in fact Michelle Akers.
Today at the strike of noon the Spirit made the official announcement that they will be collaborating with the US National Soccer Hall of Fame star to contribute and further develop the Michelle Akers Horse Rescue & Outreach. The motivation behind this move does not only stem from an environmental view point but also a collaboration of support from soccer fans to the environment and vice versa. The aim is to bring attention not only to the Washington Spirit club but to the growing world of women’s soccer while expanding society’s knowledge concerning environmental and animal rights and how they can help in protecting both entities.
Akers established her organization in 2008 and has since revived 40-50 mishandled horses. She also coaches young girls to play soccer with the sessions taking place on the same farm that is shared with the rescued horses. Akers believes that coaching young girls to play soccer allows them to build their self-esteem similar to the way she helps rebuild the strength of her horses. “The kids, I look at them the same way as my horses, they’re souls that need to be built up,” Akers said.
The partnership appears to have been created during the 2013 NSCAA convention that took place last week in Indianapolis where Akers conveyed her admiration for the sport and her hope to return to its roots. “We need it,” Akers said of the NWSL. “We’re not going to be able to compete with the rest of the world unless we have a strong league.”
The Spirit is encouraging soccer fans to donate directly on the organization’s website and then send a Tweet to the club (@WashSpirit) using #SaveAHorse and the amount you donated in a 2nd hashtag (i.e. #25 for $25). Lynch has also agreed to donate $2,500.00 to the organization once the Washington Spirit hits 10,000 Twitter followers.