The players of the North Carolina Courage have chosen to play for Raleigh nonprofit 321 Coffee in the 2020 Verizon Community Shield. The National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) team with the most points at the conclusion of the Fall Series will win $25,000 for the business of their choice. The second-place team will win $15,000 and the third-place team will win $10,000 for their community partner thanks to NWSL partner Verizon.
This is part of Verizon Community Shield, a partnership between the National Women’s Soccer League and Verizon during the 2020 NWSL Fall Series. Each of the NWSL’s nine clubs will partner with small businesses or programs in their community, and the team with the most points at the end of the Fall Series will be awarded the Verizon Community Shield.
“We are thrilled the North Carolina Courage players chose a community partner that aligns so well with the North Carolina Football Club’s core principles,” said NC Courage and NCFC President and General Manager Curt Johnson. “Verizon has provided the opportunity for our players and our club to highlight inclusion in the community. We hope to win the grant money for 321 Coffee so we can be a part of their story as they continue to make an impact in the lives of so many people.”
321 Coffee was founded in 2017 by CEO Lindsay Wrege. The nonprofit employs individuals with disabilities as baristas and roasters at the coffee shop located in the North Carolina State Farmers Market. The mission of 321 Coffee is to provide meaningful employment for adults with IDD (intellectual or developmental disabilities) and to model inclusion for other businesses to follow.
“We just expanded our shop at the Farmers Market and with the new space we are expanding into roasting our own coffee beans,” said Wrege. “We would use the grant money to grow our operations, grow our roasting facility, and create more jobs within our company.”
Of their 33 employee and volunteer baristas, 21 are women. On Wednesday, three lucky baristas were visited by NC Courage players Addisyn Merrick, Sinclaire Miramontez, Sam Murphy, Peyton Perea, and Cari Roccaro who shared the news that 321 Coffee had been selected by the Courage to be their community partner throughout the Verizon Community Shield competition.
North Carolina Courage midfielder Cari Roccaro has a connection with 321 Coffee after being a celebrity barista at the coffee shop in March. Roccaro worked side by side with the baristas, learning how to make coffee for customers.
“I am genuinely excited for the opportunity to play for 321 Coffee in the Fall Series and the 2020 Verizon Community Shield,” Roccaro said. “I learned so much about the nonprofit when I was a celebrity barista and I know that they could use the grant money to make an even greater impact on the community. 321 Coffee exemplifies inclusion which is also an important message our team wants to relay during this time.”
The North Carolina Courage defeated the Houston Dash 4-3 on September 13 with Debinha scoring the game-winning goal in the 86th minute of the match. The Courage, Sky Blue FC, and Washington Spirit each have three points so far in the Fall Series, leading the Verizon Community Shield competition.