For the second year in a row, D.C. United have selected defender Steven Birnbaum as their 2018 MLS WORKS Humanitarian of the Year nominee. The annual award, presented by Advocare, recognizes a player’s outstanding dedication to charitable and volunteer efforts in the community.
“United are proud of the positive impact our players make in our community,” Victor Melara, director of community relations, said. “We’re incredibly honored to have Steven Birnbaum represent the Black-and-Red as our MLS WORKS Humanitarian of Year for his consistent dedication to bettering the lives of others.”
Birnbaum has continued to serve as a leader in United’s community development throughout his five years with the team. Since being selected by United in the first round of the 2014 MLS SuperDraft, the defender has worked with Special Olympics D.C. in various capacities. He has volunteered as a partner for the “Spread the Word to End the Word” campaign to help foster more inclusive communities among youth, and over the last two years he’s become an ambassador for United’s Special Olympics D.C. Unified soccer program. Additionally, over the last two years, Birnbaum has taken part in the annual Polar Plunge event to raise money and awareness for Special Olympics D.C.
Birnbaum also has been integral to the team’s annual Armed Forces Week, a week-long campaign dedicated to giving back to local military members and their families. Birnbaum has participated in the initiative every year since its inception. During this year’s campaign, Birnbaum led a soccer clinic for more than 100 military kids and their families at Fort Meade in Maryland.
This past summer, Birnbaum teamed up with the Humane Rescue Alliance to take part in the organization’s annual Fashion for Paws event, which promotes the safety and welfare of all animals. Partnering with his dog Ham, Birnbaum helped raise more than $300,000 for the Humane Rescue Alliance.
Birnbaum has also been one of the most consistent advocates for the team’s charitable partner DC SCORES, visiting with youth enrolled in the program as a player liaison. Additionally, Birnbaum has attended numerous charity events to help raise funds for the organization.
Players, technical staff, and a select group of national and regional media began the voting process for the award on Monday, Oct. 15. Finalists will be announced on Oct. 31. A full list of players nominated for the 2018 MLS WORKS Humanitarian of the Year Award, presented by Advocare, can be found here.
Past United nominees for the Humanitarian of the Year award include Steven Birnbaum (2017), Sean Franklin (2016 and 2014), Travis Worra (2015), Dwayne De Rosario (2013), Stephen King (2012), Brandon Barklage (2011), and Devon McTavish (2009 and 2010).