Oakland native Marshawn Lynch has been very busy since last suiting up for the Seattle Seahawks in 2019. His latest pursuit is joining the ownership group of a pro soccer team. Lynch is now co-owner of the Oakland Roots.
“Growing up in The Town, we always could count on the pro teams in this area, but with most of those ones that I grew up with gone, I knew the minute I heard about the opportunity to join Oakland Roots, it wasn’t just something I wanted to do, it was something I had to do,” Lynch said in a statement on the team’s website.
The Roots originally debuted in 2019 with the goal of using the team’s platform to advance social justice and create “athlete activists.” For example, the team invested in the Justice Fund to “support causes at the intersection of race and gender justice.”
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Lynch will use his role as co-owner of the Roots to further benefit his hometown
With Lynch joining the fold, the community endeavors will expand even further. The team announced in the press release a partnership with Goalsetter, a saving, smart spending, and financial literacy app for kids grades K-12. This Oakland company uses fun, game-based quizzes to provide financial education.
“Giving kids in my home town a pro soccer club and players to look up to and a team that this community and city can get hella excited about was something I had to get down with,” Lynch added in the press release. “And then, you layer in the commitment they are making to this city through all our grassroots efforts, the partnership with Goalsetter, just reassured and told me that the organization isn’t just talking about creating change, but really being about that action and making s*** happen.”
Lynch has long shown a dedication to helping out local communities, whether in California or another state. He previously handed out Thanksgiving turkeys in Hawaii and put on a free local carnival for the children of Oakland. He will continue this trend while working with the pro soccer team.
The Roots will now look forward to the USL Championship season schedule, which runs from May 8 until Oct. 30. The team will play 32 games, starting with a game against Phoenix Rising FC. The Roots’ home opener at Laney Stadium is June 19 against Sacramento Republic FC.
Lynch previously helped found an Indoor Football League team
The five-time Pro Bowl running back has spent considerable time trying to keep professional sports in the Bay Area. He announced in 2019 that he was co-founding the Oakland Panthers. The team joined the Indoor Football League but has not played a game. COVID-19 forced the IFL to shut down the 2020 season after only two games.
The Panthers also announced on Sept. 18, 2020, that the team would remain dormant for the 2021 season. The press release cited the economic uncertainties as a primary reason for the decision but confirmed that the team would push to compete in 2022.
“Oakland has always been a hub for passionate sports fans, and we are focused on making the Panthers a hometown favorite,” Panthers co-owner Roy Choi said in 2020. “When we launched the Oakland Panthers last September, it was important that games be safe, accessible, family entertainment where parents create lasting memories with their families at an affordable price. We ask for everyone’s support as we look forward to our 2022 season.”
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