Secretary Antony J. Blinken And U.S. Soccer President Cindy Cone At a Sports Diplomacy Event – United States Department of State

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  First of all, it is wonderful to be here with all of these extraordinary young athletes and a few veteran athletes too.

MS CONE:  Well played, well played.  (Laughter.)

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  But one of the reasons that we’re here is also to formalize something that we’ve been doing for a long time but now has a more formal incarnation:  That’s a partnership between the State Department and U.S. Soccer.  And we are so grateful to be able to do that because thanks to U.S. Soccer, we’ve had incredible sports envoys around the world – ambassadors in sports and ambassadors to the United States who are connecting people, taking down barriers, building bridges through sports.  And I’ve seen it around the world.  It’s incredibly powerful.

The work that we’re doing together between the State Department and U.S. Soccer will just amplify and get stronger through this formal partnership, and besides having more sports envoys, I think one of the things that we see through sports, through soccer, is a way of creating greater access to education.  We’ve seen the history of Title IX in our own country.  We just celebrated 50 years of Title IX.  That’s something that is part of our foreign policy we’re taking around the world.  We see the power of building greater equity.  No better example than what women’s soccer has done in the United States, and that’s a really powerful story to take around the world.

And, of course, we see inclusion.  We see people from all different communities, all walks of life, all together on the soccer pitch.  It’s an incredible way of making sure that underserved groups around the world are included, are participating.  And that has really powerful ramifications for everything that happens off of the soccer field.  It’s something that we can help permeate throughout society.

So Cindy, we’re just grateful for what we’ve already done together and really pleased that we’re formalizing the partnership between U.S. Soccer and the State Department.

MS CONE:  As are we.  This is a big deal for us at U.S. Soccer.  I have been fortunate to be a sports envoy on three State Department trips and I enjoyed all three trips, but I am the person that I am today, the leader I am today because of what sport gave me.  And wherever I travel around the world, whether I speak the language or not, everyone in the world speaks the language of soccer or football —


MS CONE:  — whatever you want.  And so it’s a uniting force.  And so it’s a way that – exactly what you said – it brings people together so that we can build bridges and do some really important work together.

So thank you so much for this and thank you to the rest of the State Department.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Great to be part of it with you.  Thank you.  Thanks, everyone.  (Applause.)

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