Manchester City and USMNT goalkeeper Zack Steffen is pushing forward on multiple fronts when it comes to the battle against racism.
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Busy on the pitch, Steffen has made his Manchester City debut in the Premier League, his Champions League debut and has played a key role in City reaching both the League Cup final and the FA Cup semifinals this season.
We will be releasing different segments of ProSoccerTalk’s exclusive interview with Manchester City and USMNT goalkeeper Zack Steffen in the days ahead, as he discusses his anti-racism project, life in Manchester, what he gets up to off the pitch and much more.
Off the pitch, Steffen, 25, set up his own foundation, VOYCENOW, in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd and has also joined the anti-racism campaign set up by Common Goal as he continues to do all he can in the Black Lives Matter Movement.
Recently we caught up with Zack Steffen to ask about his foundation, being involved in anti-racism projects, his views on the current situation and what the next step is for eradicating racism.
Explaining the work Steffen’s foundation, VoyceNow, and Common Goal is doing
“My foundation VoyceNow, we just want to help give back to the less fortunate communities around America,” Steffen said. “It is about bringing together all of the connects I’ve come across during my days of playing and right now we have a community of about 150 athletes that are really dedicated in giving back to their community.
“We are in touch with them, the Boys and Girls Clubs of America to disperse the funds to their kids to give them educational resources for virtual schooling right now, because they are struggling with COVID. Going forward we will set up camps and mentorships with kids and the athletes, it is just about giving back to the communities that need help.”
“And with Common Goal I am very excited to get involved with this educational resource. We are going to get education out to the staffs in U.S. Soccer, the players, the fans and the parents, so we can understand what racism is, how we can fight it, how we can get rid of it and that is our goal, to end racism in U.S. Soccer.”
Being ‘actionable’ the key as Steffen explains different types of racism
Steffen acknowledges that education is key to hopes of eradicating racism, but he also believes that now is the time to take action and do something, anything, to help in the battle.
“It is about being actionable,” Steffen explained. “I am really excited to go out there and have people be able to do something and work towards what we are all talking about. I’m excited for this [Common Goal] and really intrigued to see how the players, coaches, parents react and how it helps.”
Being based in England and Germany (with Manchester City and while on loan at Fortuna Dusseldorf last season) during the Black Lives Matter Movement, Steffen revealed his experiences overseas have given him a different perspective on racism.
“It has been a little tough because obviously I would like to be back in America and be more active in my community and that is why I created VoyceNow, so that I can have a voice and a platform other than soccer that I can focus on in the States,” Steffen said.
“I appreciate that I am able to see another country and another culture. Social media hate and comments are bigger over here than they are in America, at least when it comes to MLS,” Steffen explained. “But I would say police brutality might not be as big over here and suppression isn’t as big over here. That is more focused in America. Racism is everywhere but it is about which avenue it is going through in each country and that is really what I’m seeing right now.”