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During the week, we will share Greetings from Doha that chronicle the activities and events our players and club are participating in during our excursion to Doha.
Before we get into the details of days 1 and 2, I want to make sure you understand the strategy behind our work. First and foremost, we are a player-centric club that has an intense focus on providing the best player experience in the world. Part of our responsibility is to help prepare our players for their lives after soccer. A big part of that is taking advantage of everything that DC has to offer. That includes building personal networks that they can call upon in their futures. This trip to Doha is part of a much broader and comprehensive strategy to serve our players and make a societal impact. You will see much more of what we are doing in the coming days, weeks, and months with embassies and institutions to make the Washington Spirit the best club in the world.
Day 1 – Our delegation of myself, five players (Tori Huster, Aubrey Bledsoe, Paige Nielsen, Sam Staab and Dorian Bailey) and Nicole Hawkins (Chief Communications Officer) left DC late Saturday on a direct flight aboard Qatar Airways to Doha as guests of the Qatar Ambassador in DC, His Excellency Meshal al Hamad Al Thani and his team. We landed in Doha late Sunday afternoon and got settled in our hotel. We then had dinner with Greta Holtz, the United States Ambassador to Qatar and members of her team, as well as members of the Qatar Embassy that are hosting and managing our trip. It was an early night after a long day of travel.
Day 2 – Our day started at Qatar Foundation. We were provided with a presentation on the mission of the organization and proceeded to their balcony overlooking Education City. Within Education City are U.S. Universities including Northwestern University, Texas A&M University, Virginia Commonwealth University, Georgetown University and Carnegie-Mellon University. Among the things we learned was that 60% of the graduates of these schools in Doha are women.
We then proceeded to the National Library of Qatar where we toured this facility that opened just within the past few years. One of the highlights of this tour was seeing the Heritage Level of the Library which had exhibits of documents of nearly 1000 years old. The Qatar National Library is akin to our Library of Congress.
Our next stop was the Al Shaqab Center. Endurance horses and show horses are an important part of the local culture. We toured the indoor arena and outdoor stadium where horses compete, saw the training facilities which included a swimming pool and treadmills for training the horses, and toured the stables of the Arabian Horses for show. Sam Staab had a remarkable rapport with the horses and she is now a certified “horse whisperer”.
After our lunch, the players conducted two clinics for girls ranging from 7-14 years old from the foundation. After the clinics, the players signed autographs and took pictures with the kids. Our players are now undoubtedly the heroes of these kids.
We then went to the Qatar Women’s Sports Committee facility and trained with their women’s national team. Our players had about a 40 minutes training session with the young women to prepare for the friendly match being played on day 3.
Our day ended with dinner where we were joined by Dominic Genetti, President of ExxonMobil and his wife McKenzie. Dominic recently launched his own Instagram and we want you to help us grow his following.
So this is your update from our first two days in Doha and the experience we are enjoying. Please follow our journey on our player’s social platforms and ours.
All the best.