Angel City FC announced on Tuesday they will permanently retire the No. 22 jersey number, to celebrate the successful initial funding of the Player 22 Future Program.
The jersey will be retired in a ceremony on Saturday at The Banc, prior to Angel City’s home game against OL Reign, hosted by ACFC VP of Operations and Player Development Angela Hucles Mangano. The jersey will hang at The Banc for every Angel City FC home game moving forward.
The Player 22 Future Program aims to help former NWSL players learn how to work in the sports industry in new positions. Applications for the program will open soon, and the types of jobs interested ex-pros can learn about and prepare for include “coaching, refereeing, media, or front office roles,” per a team release.
Funding for the program came from the club’s Player 22 merchandise, including all sales of No. 22 jerseys this year, as well as “donations made by ACFC partners Curateur and ComfyGo via the Angel City Sponsorship Model, as well as a donation from PNC Bank.” Moving forward, the program will continue to be funded by Player 22 merch and future donations, as well as direct donations that individuals and organizations can contribute to in the near future.
“The support for the Player 22 Future Program has been overwhelming since we launched last year,” said Hucles Mangano. “Between our incredible partners and fans around the globe, we will be able to truly create pathways for life after sport for these athletes. This is something that didn’t exist when I ended my playing career, nor did it exist for my former teammates. This is just the beginning and we look forward to accepting applicants and getting the ball rolling.”
Angel City has done a lot right so far in terms of business matters and this program, when it launched in the fall, seemed very promising. Obviously we’ll have to see how it develops when it launches all the way, but many ex-pro athletes, across all sports, seem to have a need for a program like this, and Angel City could be a trailblazer in that regard. Also, running an incubator like this is a great opportunity for Angel City to recruit talented employees, so hey, potential major win-win.
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