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UP THE GREEN! - Vermont Green Football Club strives to use soccer as a medium for positive change in the community—and the world

06/06/2024 08:26AM ● By Vermont Green Football Club
Amidst the pandemic, a groundbreaking concept took shape: the Vermont Green Football Club. The USL League Two team, which kicked off its first game in May 2022, is not just another sports team. It is the collective vision of individuals who aim to redefine the norms of sports teams, reflecting the vibrant community of Burlington. Their mission? To harness the power of soccer as a catalyst for a more environmentally sustainable and socially just world.

SUSTAINABILITY IS THE GOAL

“We wanted to start a team that embedded environmental justice practices into everything we do: our culture, our team, and our operations,” says Patrick Infurna, co-founder of Vermont Green FC.

“It’s a matter of using sustainable materials in our jerseys, practice shirts, and soft goods. It’s about using these things as a way to start a conversation about how things can be done differently both in the sports industry and generally across society.

“This also includes environmental justice,” Patrick adds. “It’s not just addressing things like climate change; it’s addressing climate change through the lens of social equity. So, we also try to do a lot of work here in the community with our partners that prioritize expanding access to things like soccer but also social issues in general.”

SOCCER AS A GLOBAL LANGUAGE

The team is designed for college athletes to play in their off-season, from May to August. “Most of our players are Division 1 college athletes,” Patrick says. “We can only have five players from each university, so we usually get a full slate of University of Vermont players, and then we recruit players from all over the world. That’s part of the idea and beauty of the game of soccer. It’s really a global language, and we can enrich our club and our community by bringing in voices, players, and ideas from everywhere.”

EQUITABILITY AND INCLUSIVITY

This summer will be the team’s third season, and it will play 10 home games at Virtue Field, including its first-ever women’s exhibition match on June 22. When asked to explain this decision, Patrick says, “We always knew that to have a truly equitable club, we needed to include everyone, and so we’re looking forward to having a full-time women’s team in the next couple of seasons.

“In the meantime, we have put together a really competitive team that looks, feels, and
is treated just like our men’s squad to play one exhibition match not only to showcase the women’s game but also as a statement of intent that we’re going to work toward bringing women’s soccer here in a full-time manner as soon as we can.” 

PARTNERS IN THE COMMUNITY

Suncommon, Vermont’s largest solar company, is the team’s biggest sponsor (the team’s jerseys sport its logo), but Patrick says the team also works with the Somali Bantu Community Association (SBCA), whose soccer club, Juba Star FC, consists of many new Americans who use the universal language of soccer to build stronger communities and expand access to the game for youths and adults.

Another community partnership is with the King Street Center, a youth center in downtown Burlington. Patrick says, “They do fantastic work for the kids of the city, and we try to have our players work with the kids, hang out with them, and sort of mentor them throughout the summer.”

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Go to www.vermontgreenfc.com/2024-%20schedule/ for a schedule of upcoming matches and bring the whole family to enjoy the best soccer in town, food trucks, and free Ben & Jerry's ice cream. 

For sponsor, vendor, and volunteer information or to purchase tickets and merchandise, go to www.vermontgreenfc.com

See you on the field! 

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