U.S. Department of State, U.S. Soccer Announce Former U.S. Women's National Team Standouts Shannon MacMillan and Tracy Noonan Travel to Guatemala as Sports Envoys

Media Note
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
October 11, 2011

The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and U.S. Soccer announced today that former U.S. Women’s National Team players Shannon MacMillan and Tracy Noonan will travel to Guatemala as Sports Envoys. From October 10-16, MacMillan and Noonan will be in Guatemala City, Quetzaltenango, and Solala, Guatemala, where they will lead soccer clinics for young girls and boys, meet with the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ English Access Microscholarship Program participants, and reach out to underprivileged youth with the Guatemala Women’s and Men’s National Soccer Teams. While in Guatemala, MacMillan and Noonan will work with several groups of young people, ages 9–20, and lead several clinics for groups of more than 100 young players.

Sports diplomacy builds on Secretary Clinton’s vision of “smart power” diplomacy. It embraces the use of a full range of diplomatic tools, including sports, to bring people together for greater understanding.

In June, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton launched the Women's World Cup Initiative: Empowering Women and Girls through Sports, with an event at the Department of State for members of the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team, female youth soccer players from around the world, Olympic medalists, professional athletes, and other leaders from the world of sports. In addition to soccer, the Department has engaged girls throughout the world this year through a host of international sports exchanges, including basketball, hockey, martial arts, snowboarding, softball, and volleyball. Click here to learn more about the Department’s efforts to empower women and girls through sports.

Sports Envoys are current and retired professional athletes and coaches that travel overseas to conduct drills and team building activities, as well as engage youth in a dialogue on the importance of education, positive health practices and respect for diversity.

SportsUnited is the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ premier sports exchange program at the U.S. Department of State. Athletes and coaches from a range of sports are chosen to conduct clinics, visit schools, and engage with youth overseas in a dialogue on the importance of an education, positive health practices, and respect for diversity. Since 2003, SportsUnited has brought more than 600 athletes from 44 countries to the U.S. to participate in Sport Visitor programs. Since 2005, SportsUnited has sent more than 100 U.S. athletes to 40 countries to participate in Sport Envoy programs.

For more information on sports diplomacy, contact Talley Sergent, U.S. Department of State, at SergentRT@state.gov. Media interested in covering the sports envoys in Guatemala should contact Embassy Guatemala City’s Outreach Coordinator Samuel Rotenberg at (502) 4009-6127 or RotenbergSJ@state.gov, or Information Specialist Evelyn Saldana at (502) 2326-4337.

PRN: 2011/1695