Players PromiseJun 29, 2019

Players Promise: Brad Stuver and the Laundry Project

For New York City FC goalkeeper Brad Stuver, giving back to his community takes place in a location you might not expect - the laundromat. The Ohio native has teamed up with the Laundry Project to provide resources for those in underserved communities to have access to clean clothing. After bringing the project to New York from Columbus, Stuver spoke with the PA about why this cause is important to him.

How did you first get involved in the Laundry Project and what is the project's main purpose?

I got involved through my wife Ashley, who originally got involved through one of her childhood friends. She brought it to Ashley’s attention and from then we realized that it was something that we wanted to help out with. We started having events in Columbus about five years ago and just launched in New York earlier this month.

We start by scouting locations in underserved communities. We talk to the management group at the laundromats to see if they are interested and ask them about the type of people who usually come in, whether it be families, or single parents. Once we have a location scouted, all we have to do is raise the money, secure the supplies and round up volunteers. On the day of we go out with quarters or cards, whatever people need, and we go in for three hours and anyone who walks in gets laundry supplies and we pay for all of their services.

image via @engagecurrent

Not everyone realizes that access to clean laundry can be a real area of need, why is this a cause that's important to you?

That was one of the things that struck home with me the very first time we did an event, was that this is a need and we don’t even realize it. I was talking to some of the people who came in and they were truly grateful for what we were doing. They were explaining that sometimes they have to decide if they put gas in the car or go get clean clothes. That was something that I have never had to deal with in my life and just to hear those stories really resonated with me. By giving these people the chance to have clean laundry, we are giving them one less thing that they are going to have to worry about throughout the day.

We can rally the community behind us just like they rally behind us on gameday."

You also have the Supporters Groups and others in the soccer community involved, how great is it to have their support?

When we were in Columbus, we paired up with the Crew and used some of the academy players to come and volunteer. Here in New York, we were spreading the word on social media and a bunch of the supporters sections reached out to me, the Youth Leadership Council kids wanted to be involved and a lot of the staff did too. It was great to see how much support that there is in this community and I’m really grateful that they are able to come out because it made the project we did one of the biggest to date.

What's the most rewarding thing about doing these events?

A lot of times you are just talking with people and hearing about their lives, what they do for a living. You learn what they are facing and going through. The biggest moment that has resonated with me is when I was talking with a young woman in Columbus while she was waiting for her laundry to finish. She had two kids, she's a single mom, and she was telling me how when she budgets the month based on how much she works sometimes laundry has to fall away and not be a necessity. Talking to her was just eye opening, hearing how she is working two jobs while taking care of two kids and is budgeting out her month and laundry has to be a part of that, that was a moment I realized we are making a difference and wanted to be able to do to this more.

image via @engagecurrent

How do you hope to see the Laundry Project grow in the future?

We’ve been fortunate enough that our friends in Columbus have continued doing the projects that we started there. Here in New York it costs money and time, but since we have the first one off the ground it will get easier. Now that we have a location, we can always go back there. Plus, now that there is more public awareness, we are hoping that we will be able to break out into the five boroughs in the coming years.

As a player, what's the biggest benefit of spending time off the field giving back to your community?

We have a lot of players giving back and doing a lot of great things off the field in the communities that they’re in. I think it’s really important for players to be able to use their platform for good. We’re only in this role for so long, but all eyes are on us. If we can bring attention to things that we feel are important, we can rally the community behind us just like they rally behind us on gameday. It’s important for us all to do our part and help in areas that we find that are important.

Interested in getting involved in the Laundry Project? Visit their website, or reach out to Brad on his Twitter or Instagram to learn how you can help.