CWU News

Seattle Sounders Donation Provides Game On! Students Lifetime Experience

Game On! participants and supporters pose for a photo at the Seattle Sounders FC stadium
Central Washington University’s Game On! program, including hundreds of its supporters, recently attended a Seattle Sounders FC match, compliments of the team.

The Sounders professional soccer organization provided Game On! with 200 tickets for the October 15, 2017 soccer match against FC Dallas. This donation more than doubled their previous year’s gift of 80 tickets.

Because of their donation more than 100 students from seven Yakima-area schools, their chaperones, along with administrators from CWU and Yakima School District (YSD) were able to witness the 4-0 win over Dallas. In addition, it provided the 109 students exposure to environments that many of them would not ordinarily have access to.

Game On! students and supporters at the Seattle Sounders FC stadium

“We are especially thankful to Consul Luis Fernando Esteban (honorary consul of Spain) and Gary Wright (consultant with the Seattle Sounders FC) for providing our students with this opportunity for a second year,” said Game On! executive director Manuel Rodriguez. “The lasting impacts on students’ success is immeasurable.”

Game On! serves students from Stanton Academy, Eisenhower High School, Excel High School, Franklin Middle School, Lewis & Clark Middle School, Washington Middle School, and Wilson Middle School. For many of these students, it was their first time experiencing a Major League Soccer match, and for some their very first time in Seattle.

They had the added exposure of interacting with CWU President James L. Gaudino, Global Field Director of Microsoft Philanthropies Leonardo Ortiz, and a host of other professionals. The informal mentoring allowed students to connect with leadership in a fun and unimposing environment.

“Being able to go to my first Sounder’s game was amazing,” said Cesar Miranda, a Game On! participant and Eisenhower High School senior. “To experience it with everybody … I will remember this for as long as I live!”

Game On! and its partners hope to make this an annual event for future participants.

About Game On!
Game On! is an after-school program that meets twice a week. Students visit the CWU campus to learn computer coding and soccer skills as a way to encourage interest in higher education, STEM studies, and leadership. The Game On! program is made possible by a partnership between the Real Madrid Foundation—the largest sports franchise in the world, together with the world’s leading software company, Microsoft Corporation, Central Washington University, and the Yakima School District. Central Washington University coordinates the Game On! communication and training efforts, as well as promotes and provides a new and exciting opportunity for these Game On! students to achieve their goals of completing a university degree.

For more information about Game On! contact Manuel Rodriguez, executive director at, 509-963-2216.

Media Contact: Dawn Alford, Public Affairs, 509-963-1484,