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New York City FC Announces Youth-Led Voting Campaign

September 17, 2020 - Major League Soccer (MLS) - New York City FC News Release

NEW YORK, N.Y. - New York City FC (NYCFC) today has announced the Club's new youth-led voting campaign in partnership with Vote.org, the largest nonpartisan voter regi stration and research-driven get-out-the-vote (GOTV) organization in the country. POWER the Vote was created as a result of a difficult, but necessary, conversation within the NYCFC-supported Youth Leadership Council around social injustices across local communities and the nation. POWER the Vote is c reated, managed and executed by ambitious young leaders who design and implement free soccer initiatives that promote health, education and youth enterprise across the five boroughs.

Using the power of soccer, the POWER the Vote campaign aims to educate and mobilize young adults, teens and other members of the New York City community to exercise their civic right to vote. In partnership with Vote.org, the campaign will work to register voters, allow people to check their registration status and amplify a pledge-to-vote initiative that will sign up New Yorkers under the voting age to receive a text message from Vote.org on their 18th birthday to remind them to vote.

Since the Club's inaugural season, NYCFC has focused on youth-development through City in the Community (CITC) foundation and young leaders training programs. POWER the Vote builds on this history of uplifting the next generation of New Yorkers by providing leadership roles within community programs.

NYCFC's support for the new campaign will come to life in several ways, from First Team player engagement to amplifying messaging across Club platforms, and more. The Club kicks off the campaign today with a video featuring players and young leaders.

Additional POWER the Vote activations include:

City Halls - A series of virtual townhalls for an audience of young New Yorkers with voices from diverse speakers, including local electeds and players from Sky Blue FC of the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL), to discuss topics around civic engagement; the September 24th City Hall will showcase a powerful discussion with NYCFC First Team players

National Voter Registration Day - Alongside the POWER the Vote young people, NYCFC and CITC will host voter registration events on September 22nd at five NYCFC / NYCSI mini-soccer pitches throughout the City, including:

J Hood Wright (Manhattan)

Flushing Meadow Corona Park (Queens)

PS 24 (Brooklyn)

Hostos Academy (Bronx)

IS 49 (Staten Island)

In-Game Recognition - During Phase 2 of the 2020 MLS season, the Club will integrate POWER the Vote messaging into in-game presentation

Staff Volunteering - NYCFC will recognize Election Day as a corporate holiday to empower staff to get out and vote; NYCFC staff will also be volunteering on Voter Registration Day to get fans, youth and other New Yorkers registered to vote

As the POWER the Vote campaign continues to grow, NYCFC has also joined Rally the Vote, a nonpartisan coalition led by the Sacramento Kings alongside When We All Vote and RISE to bring together professional sports franchises across the country committed to encouraging fans to register to vote and participate in elections.

NYCFC Defender and Bronx native, Tayvon Gray, described the importance of youth participation:

"I think it's important for young people to know what's going on in the world today. If you want change, voting is the way. To make yourself heard, I think you should go and vote."

In addition to encouraging fans and young people to vote, NYCFC has signed-on to Electionday.org, joining more than 700 companies in taking steps to make it easier for staff to vote by giving paid-time off. NYCFC Youth Leadership Coordinator and Co-Founder of POWER the Vote, Kwame King, shared his thoughts:

"Much like the rest of the world, the young leaders and I watched earlier this year as people joined in the streets to fight for the shared goal of equality, and we launched the POWER the Vote initiative to ensure that the young people we serve and our fans are equipped, educated and empowered to go out and actually vote. As this is a non-partisan initiative, we want to make sure communities across the five boroughs exercise their right to vote. FDR said it best: Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves and the only way they could do this is by not voting."

NYCFC CEO, Brad Sims, continued:

"All of us at NYCFC are incredibly inspired by our young leaders who run our free soccer programs and how they created the POWER the Vote campaign. As a professional soccer Club, we want to continue using our platforms to empower young people, give them tools to practice civic engagement and emphasize how important it is to vote.

"Earlier this summer, we made public commitments to help address injustice - and increasing civic engagement is one of the ways we can do that. While voting is nonpartisan, civic engagement is a responsibility for all New Yorkers, sports teams and every citizen. We are proud to announce that moving forward all NYCFC staff will receive a paid holiday on Election Day so they can more easily exercise the right to vote."

Vote.org CEO, Andrea Hailey, added:

"In 2016, 100 million Americans sat out the election, and too many of them were young people. Their participation matters, and Vote.org is excited to be working with NYCFC to provide those voters with the resources they need, fostering the energy from this summer's protests to ensure young peoples' voices are heard and represented.

"It's critical we turn that activism into action, lower the barriers to political engagement, and simplify what young voters need to register to vote, and to cast a ballot this fall, whether by mail, voting early, or voting on Election Day. By making voting easier, and in turn, getting more people to vote, we create a stronger, more representative democracy."

For more information, visit: https://www.nycfc.com/powerthevote


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