At a media availability this week, Thorns FC head coach Mark Parsons and former NWSL MVP Lindsey Horan said the NWSL Fall Series is about development and getting ready for 2021.
While that might be true, Tuesday afternoon the NWSL announced exactly what the teams are playing for.
Each NWSL franchise gets to choose a small business or program in the local community to play for the winner earning a grant of $25,000 for their community partner as well as earning the 2020 Verizon Community Shield. $15,000 and $10,000 will be presented to the second and third-place teams, respectively.
Which organization did Thorns players choose? Mimi’s Fresh Tees: a "Portland-based t-shirt company that amplifies tough social justice conversations and allows people to wear their truth."
“The team is very excited to play for Mimi’s Fresh Tees during the Fall Series for the Verizon Community Shield,” said Thorns FC forward Simone Charley. “Kamelah Adams [owner and designer of Mimi’s] is a great example of someone who not only recognized an issue, but also took action through her work.
“We love her creative ideas on how to continue these conversations and are thrilled to support her positive efforts to impact our community. It is important that the conversations around race continue as these are building blocks to addressing the many systemic issues we are facing in our country.”
Mimi's Fresh Tees came to be because owner Kamelah Adams was "motivated by systemic racism her Black son experienced in the education system, [she] wanted to create a product that brought conversations around discrimination out into the open, in a quick and straightforward way. She started designing t-shirts as a way for people to take a stand, break the silence and start a dialogue by wearing their feelings on their chest," the press release explained.
“I started Mimi’s Fresh Tees two and a half years ago because I wanted to give people a way to start tough conversations promoting equality and unity because we can only make real change if we have these two things," said Adams. "We are at a crossroads in our society, while there have been more conversations around social justice, there is also an increase in messages of hate and they're getting louder. “A partnership with the Thorns helps us share our messages of ‘Unity’ and ‘Make Racism Wrong Again’ on a much larger platform, ensuring our voices aren't silenced and make it known we're still here, fighting for equality side by side, as a community.”
Up next, Thorns FC plays host to OL Reign in the NWSL Fall Series on Wednesday, Sept. 30, at Providence Park. The Sept. 30 match kicks off at 7 p.m. (Pacific) and features a streamed broadcast available on Twitch.