It is a pleasure to host today’s watch party for the Women’s World Cup Football match between the U.S. and Portugal. Welcome to all of you: our friends from Portugal, coaches, alumni, sports contacts, and our Embassy women’s football team!
One reason that we are doing this is because we are incredibly proud of our Women’s National Team. They have won four World Cups and four Olympic gold medals, and we certainly hope they win another World Cup this year. But the more important reason we are hosting this event is to highlight our commitment to empowering women and girls through sports.
We believe in the unifying power of sports and their ability to promote teamwork and inclusion. We recognize the incredible contributions of women leaders and change-makers and are dedicated to advancing gender equality and inclusion, including in sports, to help women excel on and off the field. For example, the U.S. Women’s National Team is leading advocacy efforts for equal pay and parental leave in the U.S and international sports. Also, I would like to recognize our incredible alumni, Ms. Aderonke Bello of FAME Foundation has been instrumental in supporting the International Women’s Day football tournament where the diplomatic corps and international organizations come together for female empowerment every year.
Over the past four years, the U.S. Mission has invested over $300,000 in projects supporting football, adaptive sports, basketball, and softball for women and girls in marginalized communities, fostering greater engagement and empowerment.
In 2020, the U.S Mission collaborated with the Nigerian Paralympic Committee to strengthen its efforts in promoting capacity building for youth especially girls with disabilities and increase their participation and inclusion in sports through the established of Paralympic Sports Clubs.
Through our Sports Visitors program in 2022, four outstanding athletes from Paralympic Clubs participated in a two-week sports-based exchange program for non-elite youth athletes in Oklahoma to promote positive social development with a focus on leadership and empowerment.
Through programs like the espnW Global Sports Mentoring Program, we continue to use sports as a vehicle to empower women. This initiative, in partnership with top U.S. organizations promotes equality and opportunity for women around the world. We have nominated exceptional women leaders from Nigeria to participate in this program, fostering mentorship, networking, and professional development.
I’m thrilled about the upcoming 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles. It will be a spectacular event showcasing athleticism, culture, and international friendship. We anticipate welcoming athletes and spectators from around the world to celebrate unity and diversity through the power of sport.
Finally, I want to extend my appreciation to the remarkable alumni of our Global Sports Mentoring Program for their efforts to empower women through sports. To our alumni and everyone who is working in this area, I offer my sincere gratitude. Let’s all work to encourage women to soar high and overcome any challenges that come their way…and Go USA!