U.S. Army Soldiers assigned to the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, were welcomed home during the pre-match ceremony of Sporting Kansas City's match against the LA Galaxy on Aug. 6.
Over 150 Soldiers took to the field for Military Appreciation Day following the unit’s 11-month deployment to Europe in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve, a Department of Defense effort that provides rotational deployments of combat-credible forces to Europe to show the nation’s commitment to NATO while building readiness, increasing interoperability and enhancing the bonds between ally and partner militaries.
For one 1st Infantry Division Soldier, being front and center on a soccer field was no strange feeling. U.S. Army Capt. Lauren McGovern, the Operation Victory Wellness Chief, 1st Infantry Division – Special Staff, and a member of the U.S. Armed Forces Women’s Soccer team, assisted in leading troops onto the field, participated in a pre-game ‘Meet Your Army’ tailgate and had the opportunity to meet Sporting KC’s President and CEO.
“It’s very humbling to be honored like this,” said McGovern. “It’s amazing when someone sees something in you that they want to highlight to the rest of the world.”
Beginning her soccer career at the age of three, the former West Point recruit and Denver, Colo., native spoke on what it is like being one of the bridges that helped to connect the Big Red One to Sporting KC.
“I think it’s awesome when any organization wants to support the troops,” said McGovern. “I know the other Soldiers think it’s cool to have the opportunity to walk out onto the field and kind of get the recognition they deserve for their hard work and sacrifice.”
The former Colorado Female Athlete of the Year said that she is grateful for the chance to give back to the community and inspire others through soccer as she looks to extend her lifelong passion and take her talents globally when the U.S. Armed Forces Women’s team travels to the Netherlands for their next tournament in 2023.