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Year-long partnership includes educational opportunities for players, coaches and staff and promotes diversity, equity, and social justice around league

CHICAGO (July 26, 2021) - The National Women's Soccer League announced today a partnership with RISE, a non-profit organization that educates and empowers the sports community to eliminate racial discrimination, champion social justice and improve race relations. As part of the collaboration, RISE will provide a range of programming opportunities to the NWSL's players, coaches, and staff, including town hall-style discussions, leadership workshops, and community engagement opportunities.

"The NWSL is committed to long-term action in the area of social justice and we're excited to have our partners at RISE join us in making this mission a top priority," said NWSL Commissioner Lisa Baird. "This partnership is a meaningful next step for our league as we work to make the sport a more welcoming and inclusive space for all."

The partnership will consist of a six-workshop activation with each of the NWSL's coaches designed to empower those in the league to be leaders in discussing and addressing matters of racism, prejudice, diversity and inclusivity. RISE will also facilitate team focus groups and workshops that challenge players and staff to consider identity, the importance of perspective in leadership, and their roles in fostering inclusive team environments. These sessions will help determine how RISE can support teams in future programming around diversity, equity & inclusion, social justice and civic engagement.

League staff will also participate in RISE digital courses, which are designed to educate in the areas of racial equity, social justice and race relations.

Additionally, NWSL will work with RISE to develop community programming initiatives that challenge sports leaders to demonstrate their commitment to diversity and inclusion by putting their learnings into practice in an impactful way.

"Historically and now, women within the sports community have been at the forefront of creating and sustaining this movement for racial equity," said RISE CEO Diahann Billings-Burford. "RISE is elated for the opportunity to partner with the women's professional soccer community as they set a standard of achieving concrete impact on the landscape of our country."

"The Players Association welcomes this partnership with RISE," said NWSLPA President Tori Huster. "We are excited to participate in the ongoing work of making NWSL a safe and inclusive space for everyone."

The year-long partnership will commence in Fall 2021.

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