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FC Cincinnati is committed to leaving a legacy, creating something bigger than ourselves, and being the embodiment of a rising Cincinnati. Through our own programs and initiatives, and the support of key partners, we will improve the lives of children through soccer and will continue to do our part to create an inclusive community. Consistent with our goals, to honor Black History Month, FC Cincinnati has a series of initiatives planned.

Every Tuesday this month, we will highlight our Soccer Unites program, presented by Old Spice. Club Ambassador Omar Cummings visits schools year-round to help expose children to the game of soccer who may not otherwise have the opportunity. FC Cincinnati is committed year-round to leveling the playing field for all children.

On February 8, Cummings spent the day at Hays-Porter School in Cincinnati’s West End, teaching fundamentals and stressing teamwork.

"It’s huge in terms of building relationships with the kids, team building, and character,’’ said Hays-Porter PE teacher Kelvin Givens. "It means a lot for these kids. A lot of them have broken homes. For FCC to come out, it’s a big help. For me, that’s priceless.’’

"Soccer in the U.S. is largely a pay-to-play kind of sport,’’ said Cummings. "Especially for kids in the inner city communities. If you look around the world, soccer is played everywhere. We want to give the kids here an equal opportunity. The most important thing is to reach our community.’’

Also this month, FC Cincinnati defender Ray Gaddis wrote a first-person essay on what Black History Month means to him. Gaddis, a new addition to FCC, brings a wealth of community involvement and veteran leadership to the Orange and Blue. You can read Ray Gaddis: What Black History Means to Me here.

"To me, Black History is an opportunity to honor trailblazers and their dedication to societal advancements,’’ writes Gaddis, in an excerpt of his essay. "While celebrating their many fruits of labor that were never seen or enjoyed. We owe many of our freedoms to their efforts.’’

And on February 24, FC Cincinnati and FC Cincinnati Foundation are hosting The DAD Initiative (Directing Adolescent Development) at TQL Stadium as they kick off Black History month by hosting 200 Cincinnati juniors and seniors for a program designed to inspire their success. "Black Futures" will be hosted at TQL Stadium from 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

Nearly 40 Black professionals representing a wide range of careers have volunteered to engage Black students in candid conversations about their respective paths to success.

“All too often Black adolescents are simply unaware of the career possibilities in front of them,” says Tyran Stallings, Executive Director at The D.A.D. Initiative. “But in a single day during Black History Month, we are providing a forum for local students to learn from role models who look like them, about the infinite and very real career possibilities available to them.”