There has been a tremendous amount of soccer talk of late in San Diego. SoccerCity SD, potential expansion clubs in MLS, USL, NWSL and NASL have all been occupying headlines in recent weeks and months. Amidst the alphabet soup of abbreviations, city council meetings and fervent soccer support, a common theme has emerged.
San Diego has an epidemic that needs attention. San Diego is home to far too many homeless and hungry citizens who need help. Teamwork fostered on the pitch translates off of it as well, and if there’s one thing soccer people know how to do, its to unite and support a cause. So out of all the chaos, a core group of soccer citizens decided to help.
“Ever since the campaign to bring MLS to San Diego began, we recognized the power we have when we strive towards a common goal,” said Daryl Biggs. “Inspired by the charitable works practiced by supporter groups across the globe as well as SoccerCitySD’s vision that the city we love grow into North America’s hub for the beautiful game, Foody McFoody Face was born. We’re establishing a homegrown, people-driven tradition that will impact our fellow citizens and unify the community under the San Diego sun. We reached out to see if we could spoof the Footy McFooty Face logo from Soccer City SD, and they were thrilled to hear that supporters wanted to do something like this,” continued Biggs.
Of San Diego County’s 3.1 million residents, 467,054 people live in poverty – that’s 14.7% of the population of San Diego County.* Of this number, 136,124 are children. These individuals face “food insecurity” which means that little or no food is available at home, and often they will not know how they will get their next meal. (*U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, 2014. Compiled by SANDAG, April 2016.)
The Foody McFoodyFace initiative is a movement aimed at addressing the abject poverty that so many San Diegans live through each and every day. The first Foody McFoody Face Food Drive will begin July 1st and continue through July 9th with the final push at the Gold Cup game at Qualcomm, when Mexico takes on El Salvador.
Jonny Rico Aviles, one of the core founders of Foody, reached out to the Mexican Supporters group, Pancho Villa’s Army and they welcomed the idea and will be hosting food barrels at their tailgate to help support their friends at the American Outlaws SD Chapter.
“We can be rivals on the field, but friends in support of community.” – Jonny Rico Aviles
Other events will be held all over the city and county at bars that traditionally host soccer watch parties. “With so many games happening over the next two weeks with USMNT, Confederations Cup, MLS and the Gold Cup, the Foody drive is a great way to engage soccer people, business owners, and the overall #SDcommUNITY in a creative way to get together for a good cause,” said Yumi Asao the communications director for American Outlaws San Diego.
In talking with the core people behind Foody, the planning went on via Direct Message on Twitter, with each person contributing in their skill set to the project. Marisa Cali, one of the key founders said, “We had people talking to bars, people handling logistics with the San Diego Food Bank, people contacting various soccer supporters’ groups, and people designing the flyers, writing press releases etc. It literally grew over Twitter in just 24 hours into something amazing.”
It is very evident that the soccer community runs very deep in San Diego. The soccer community cares and will continue to connect people of all races, genders, socio-economic levels, religions and ages. There is tremendous fire within the hearts of the soccer citizens of San Diego and it will not go away.