Photo: Courtesy of Connor Cunningham
Continuing to fulfill its mission of making “good things, for life,” GE Appliances has awarded Louisville City FC and Racing Louisville FC academy scholarships to two local players, easing burdens on families as a local girl and boy chase their passion to play soccer.
The $5,000 gifts — enough to cover playing fees, uniforms and most tournament travel through 2022 — were awarded at halftime of Sunday’s Racing game, with Chief Marketing Officer Mary Putman and Executive Brand Director Todd Getz on hand to present.
“We’d like to thank GE Appliances for their contribution to the club but also to these young kids,” said Mario Sanchez, the academies’ director and Racing’s interim head coach. “This will provide a wonderful opportunity. We look forward to continuing to work with GE Appliances not only to grow the sport of soccer but to grow kindness in our community.”
The Racing academy’s scholarship recipient, Audrey Gamez, is a seventh grader at Jefferson County Traditional Middle School who plays for the club’s 2009 (U13) group. LouCity academy recipient Bilombele Kanzulu is a Butler Traditional High School freshman on the 2006 (U16) squad.
“GE Appliances is all about the community, and part of that is investing in our youth,” Putman said. “Through Racing and LouCity along with the academy, we support the athletics inspiring and empowering youth to reach their dreams from our own backyard.”
GE Appliances’ academy scholarship pledges were made as part of a larger partnership placing an iconic brand in half of American homes on the front of jerseys across the Soccer Holdings, LLC, family. That includes each of the USL Championship member LouCity, National Women’s Soccer League expansion club Racing Louisville and their associated youth systems.
When the landmark agreement was announced last December, GE Appliances revealed plans to offer a scholarship to a member of the Racing academy. The Louisville-based company also donated proceeds for every replica jersey purchase made so far this year, a total tallied up to create a LouCity academy scholarship as well.
“I was really surprised,” Kanzulu said. “I’ve never experienced something like that. I’ve been working hard, and to be here I’m excited. It means a lot to be playing for academy, and one day I hope to play on the senior LouCity team.”
“I’m very excited,” Gamez added. “It’s super exciting. I’m really glad to have the opportunity to play for the academy.”
Having started their second seasons this fall, the LouCity and Racing academies are elite soccer programs designed to give area players a clear pathway to collegiate or professional soccer. Teams practice at the Lynn Family Sports Vision & Training Center and wear the same jerseys as their pro counterparts. Already, brothers Elijah and Josh Wynder have graduated from the academy ranks to turn pro with LouCity, the first of many players expected to do so in the years to come.
GE Appliances, a Haier company, strives to make the world a better place, and its team is committed to leading in the communities where employees live and work. A purpose-rooted and passion-driven organization, GE Appliances believes there is always a better way. It sells products under the Monogram®, Café™, GE Profile™, GE® Appliances, Haier, and Hotpoint brands. Products include refrigerators, freezers, cooking products, dishwashers, washers, dryers, air conditioners, water filtration systems, water heaters, wine and beverage and small appliances. For more information, visit www.geappliances.com.