South Lawn, The White House
6:31 P.M. EDT
THE FIRST LADY: Thank you, Nevaeh. You’ve b- — you have such a bright future ahead of you, whether you continue to follow your passion for entrepreneurship, soccer, or something else entirely, and I can’t wait to see what you do next.
Hello, everyone, and welcome to the White House! (Applause.)
Seeing all of you reminds me of one of my first events as First Lady. And it was for my Joining Forces initiative, our White House effort to support military and veteran families, caregivers, and survivors. And I met a military kid named Ryzun. And though his family had been stationed all over the world, when I met him, he was going to school in Germany. As the new kid, he looked for the thing that always made him feel most at home: playing soccer.
He was the only person on the team who spoke English, but after a few weeks of passing and scoring with his teammates, he had made friendships that transcended words.
Sport is the international language. From the thrill of the goal to the joy of the win, when we work as one to score that point or cheer on our team, sports unite us across backgrounds and borders. There are no strangers in the stands or on the field. And as our bodies get stronger, we learn confidence and resilience, find a kinship with our teammates.
We all get to see that magic during the All-Star game on Wednesday. In fact, some of those All-Stars are with us today. (Applause.)
Watching you soar brings us joy. You inspire us to work harder, show us how to fail and get back up, teach us to run like until our legs feel like they’re going to give out, and then we’ll run some more.
So, I want to thank Major League Soccer and Commissioner Garber for all that you do to inspire us and for bringing us together today.
It was so great to have your amazing colleagues from the National Women’s Soccer League here for Equal Pay Day a few years ago. And I can’t wait to watch many of them at the Women’s World Cup next Friday. You’ll all be watching, right? (Applause.)
The Second Gentleman will be representing us from the stands, but we will be cheering him [them] on from the White House.
To our young athletes, I hope you enjoy this incredible experience. And I want to thank you for your dedication and commitment that you show to your families, your teams, your schools, and your communities. Find your passions and follow your dreams. Remember the endless possibilities that exist within each one of you.
To the parents joining us, thank you for raising such amazing kids.
Thank you to D.C. Parks and Recreation for working each day — (applause) — so these kids can have access to opportunities like this one.
And finally, we’re so grateful that D.C. United has brought so many wonderful instructors and coaches here today.
As you show these young athletes how to dribble and shoot, you’re able to help them forge friendships, learn to lead, and deepen the connections of this community.
I know there’s a lot more fun to be had today, and I can’t wait to watch you play.
Now our players are going to come down for the ceremonial first kick.
Thank you, everyone, for being here. (Applause.)
END 6:35 P.M. EDT