The U.S. Association of Blind Athletes, the National Governing Body for the Paralympic sport of blind soccer, and the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Foundation today announced Thomas Abraham as a historic first sport ambassador in the sport of blind soccer. Abraham, who earned the title through his philanthropic contribution to the sport, marks the first time the title has been given for a Paralympic sport in the United States.
“We are extremely honored and proud to add Thomas Abraham to our ongoing efforts to spread awareness of blind soccer throughout the nation,” said USABA CEO Molly Quinn. “His dedication to nonprofits and extensive expertise will be a valuable asset in helping build blind soccer on the road to the LA28 Paralympic Games.”
The Team USA Ambassador program was established by the USOPF to generate additional funding for Team USA’s programs and sports above and beyond their budgetary allocations from the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee. Half of an ambassador’s gift helps to underwrite the existing budget, while the other half goes toward projects and initiatives that advance the program or sport in a significant way.
Though it has been part of the 22-sport Paralympic Games program since 2004, blind soccer is the only sport in which a U.S. team has never competed. However, at the Paralympic Games Los Angeles 2028, Team USA will receive an automatic bid into the blind soccer tournament as the host nation.
In collaboration with U.S. Soccer, USABA has launched seven building blind soccer sites across the country to help to grow the sport in preparation for LA 2028. In November 2022, USABA named the first-ever USA Blind Soccer Men’s National Team. The U.S. team hosted Canada in a pair of international friendlies in March 2023 in Chula Vista, Calif., with the opening match. With the addition of Abraham as a sport ambassador in the lead-up to LA 2028 USA Blind Soccer will utilize his knowledge and dedication to philanthropy to facilitate growth and advancement of the game. By providing funding to USABA and USA Blind Soccer, Abraham will aid in Paralympic high-performance development, global exposure, awareness and advocacy around the game. In addition, the gift will support USA Blind Soccer athletes with travel costs, stipends, training and sport performance services.
“We are thankful for Thomas Abraham’s commitment and Anthony R. Abraham Foundation’s contribution toward advancing Paralympic sport.” said Julie Dussliere, USOPC chief of Paralympics. “This generous gift and historic title will become a powerful catalyst for blind soccer, propelling the sport and its athletes across the United States while forging a pipeline for future generations to come.”
Outside of his involvement as a USOPF Trustee and Sport Ambassador, Abraham brings a wealth of knowledge to this role. He currently serves as chairman of the Anthony R. Abraham Foundation, which addresses poverty, improves the lives of those in need, fosters sustainable communities, supports medical research and ensures quality education and medical care for children. “As I embrace this prestigious title, I envision a future where blind and visually impaired athletes redefine possibilities on the global stage,” says Abraham. “With the Anthony R. Abraham Foundation’s support and steadfast dedication, this first Paralympic Sport Ambassador to USA Blind Soccer ushers in a new era of empowerment, camaraderie, and triumph.”
Abraham is also recognized for establishing Miami’s StarArt Foundation, which aligns esteemed international artists, entertainers and corporate sponsors with initiatives and impactful projects at the intersection of sports, music and art to benefit charities and humanitarian causes.
About U.S. Association of Blind Athletes
The mission of USABA is to empower Americans who are blind or visually impaired to experience life-changing opportunities in sports, recreation, and physical activities, thereby educating and inspiring the nation. A member organization of both the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee and U.S. Soccer, USABA is certified by the USOPC as the national governing body for the Paralympic team sports of goalball and blind soccer. Since its founding in 1976, USABA has reached more than 100,000 individuals through its multi-sport programming and emerged as more than just a world-class trainer of blind athletes: it has become a champion of the abilities of Americans who are legally blind. Learn more at www.usaba.org/.
About the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Foundation
The United States Olympic & Paralympic Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting Team USA athletes on and off the field of play. As the fundraising arm of the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee, the USOPF generates philanthropic support to empower Team USA athletes to achieve sustained competitive excellence and well-being. Since it was founded in 2013, the USOPF has raised more than $200 million for U.S. Olympians, Paralympians and hopefuls. To learn more about the foundation, visit give.teamusa.org.
About the Anthony R. Abraham Foundation
The late Lebanese – American entrepreneur and philanthropist Anthony R. Abraham and his wife Genevieve devoted their lives to helping others through the Anthony R. Abraham Foundation that he founded in 1976. They believed that a life lived for others is a life worth living. And even though they both passed away, the foundation continues to help ease poverty, improve the quality of life for those in need, build sustainable communities, support medical research, and ensure excellence in education and medical care for children, through donations to various non-profit charities across the globe. The Anthony R. Abraham Foundation is now led by the founder’s son, Thomas G. Abraham, who is serving as Chairman of the board states their mission is ” “To love, honor, respect and empower the lives of the suffering, hopeless and forgotten.”