NEW YORK, NY – Major League Soccer and the U.S. Soccer Foundation announced that Colorado Rapids defender Jose Luis Burciaga Jr. is the recipient of the 2008 U.S. Soccer Foundation-MLS W.O.R.K.S. Humanitarian of the Year Award.
Burciaga Jr., a seven-year MLS veteran and Oak Kliff, Texas native, has been active in philanthropic efforts throughout 2008. He is being recognized as an exemplary athlete within the community based on his work with the U.S. Soccer Foundation’s Passback Program and the establishment of his foundation, the Jose Luis Burciaga Jr. Foundation. Burciaga Jr.’s foundation focuses on the positive impact of sports and the ideals of teamwork, discipline, and respect in the developing of young minds. The foundation promotes youth involvement in sports, education, community service and cultural awareness.
Burciaga Jr. has led by example on the field and off this year. He navigated his hectic schedule to lead U.S. Soccer Foundation Passback clinics when he had time away from the Rapids in 2008. In one weekend, he traveled to Dallas, in his home state of Texas, to run a clinic and returned to Denver the next morning to make sure he was present for the afternoon Passback clinic. By demonstrating his impressive soccer skills and speaking to children about the impact soccer has made on his life, Burciaga Jr’s regularly gives back to the community.
Burciaga Jr. believes that through the power of sport, any individual can overcome difficulty and adapt to any situation. It is his hope that he can positively impact the lives of the children by showing them the positive life skills he has learned through soccer. Burciaga Jr.’s work with the U.S. Soccer Foundation and MLS W.O.R.K.S. speak volumes to his commitment to community on a local and national level.
In his soccer career Burciaga Jr. has overcome times of adversity, including torn ligaments in both knees. In 2007, after recovering from injuries that plagued him early in his career, he was named to the MLS Best XI team as one of the best defenders in the League. A consummate professional, Burciaga Jr., played in 12 games for the Rapids this season.
U.S. Soccer Foundation Humanitarian of the Year Winners
2008: Jose Luis Burciaga Jr. – Colorado Rapids
2007: Diego Gutierrez – Chicago Fire
2006: Michael Parkhurst – New England Revolution
2005: Brian Kamler – Real Salt Lake
2004: Chris Henderson – Colorado Rapids
2003: Ben Olsen – D.C. United
2002: Steve Jolley – MetroStars
2001: Tim Howard – MetroStars
2000: Abdul T. Conteh – San Jose Earthquakes