(NEW YORK) — As millions of people around the world tune in for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup this week, second gentleman Doug Emhoff will be in New Zealand representing the United States.
Emhoff, the husband of Vice President Kamala Harris, departed Monday for New Zealand, where he will lead the U.S. delegation at the opening ceremony of the 2023 Women’s World Cup later this week.
Emhoff will also attend the U.S. Women’s National Team’s first World Cup game on Friday against Vietnam.
At this year’s World Cup, the USWNT will be attempting to win their third consecutive title.
“I’m going to be rooting so hard,” Emhoff said Monday on ” Good Morning America,” adding of the team’s chances of a third title, “I really believe they’re going to bring it home.”
Emhoff, a father of two, described attending the World Cup on behalf of the U.S. as a full-circle moment from when he used to coach and referee his own kids’ games. Emhoff also played soccer himself as a child.
“I was a soccer dad … [a coach] with my kids and then I became a referee wearing that yellow outfit with the whistle and those short shorts and the big socks,” Emhoff said, with a laugh. “To go from that on those fields, watching all these kids play and the parents rooting them on, to now be representing our country on this presidential delegation and seeing all these athletes now representing their countries, I’m just so honored and proud to be here.”
While in New Zealand, Emhoff will not just be focusing on soccer but also bigger world issues that the sport has found itself at the center of.
He is scheduled to deliver remarks to young women and girls as part of a panel discussion on gender equity and women in sports.
Last year, the USWNT scored a landmark equal pay win with a new agreement that sees them receiving the same pay, including appearance fees and game bonuses, and the same working conditions as the U.S. Men’s National Team.
The two teams will also pool their World Cup prize money, which is unequally distributed by FIFA, the international governing body, and share the money equally, becoming the first soccer federation in the world to do so, according to a collective bargaining agreement announced by U.S. soccer and the unions for both the men’s and women’s teams.
Emhoff will also join former New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in a roundtable of faith, community and other leaders on combatting hate and promoting tolerance.
The second gentleman said he sees sports, specifically the World Cup, as an entity that can bring people together.
“As we all know, we all have way more in common than what divides us. There is so much hate out there and people are just fed up with it,” Emhoff said. “As the first second gentleman, one of the big things I’ve been working on is pushing against this epidemic of hate and finding ways to bring people together.”
He continued, “Honestly, sports is one of those things. Sports unifies us and that’s one of the reasons why I’m so excited to be on this trip to support our women’s team. It’s going to bring our entire country together.”
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