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Commendations from Chicago after first MLSPA delivery

EPIC Risk Management’s first engagement with Major League Soccer players since the announcement of our program in conjunction with the MLS Players Association (MLSPA) received warm commendations after a successful visit to Chicago Fire FC.

Former Wrexham and Wales U21 forward Marc Williams visited Illinois to meet with the club’s first team players, where he laid the foundations for how the project will work with the US’ leading soccer players and clubs. His session included detailing his lived experience of gambling-related harm, providing information on integrity-related issues and offering advice on how to best avoid the risks that can be associated with sports wagering.

The inaugural delivery was presented to a club with which EPIC enjoy a positive working relationship, with their head of player care and well-being, Rachael Jankowsky, recently becoming a member of our Pro Sport Advisory Board, which advises on best practice for sports clubs, leagues and organizations to minimize gambling-related harm for the benefit of their members.

Observing Marc’s session were two representatives of the MLS Players Association, who spoke warmly of the way the concept was delivered and received.

“I thought the presentation was fantastic,” admitted Johnny Andris, MLSPA deputy general counsel. 

“Marc’s telling of his experience as a high-level footballer dealing with addiction was very impactful.

“The couple of players that we spoke with afterward gave positive feedback to us. One of them specifically mentioned the fact that Marc’s background made the content very relatable for them.”

There was a similar response from Dan Jones, MLSPA COO, who explained:

“Marc is an excellent presenter, his journey speaks for itself, and the content balances well between storytelling, research, and important information for MLS players to know and understand as it relates to their own environment and rules.

“Most importantly, the players seemed interested and engaged.”

The club also provided a positive appraisal of the concept, with Rachael Jankowsky adding:

“EPIC’s ability to present relevant and relatable information about gambling harm was on full display in Marc’s lived experience session at the Fire.

“The team was fully engaged while hearing the personal story of an athlete who understands their world, and he held their attention while learning about a topic that can be difficult to tackle.

“While a personal narrative carries the session, I also appreciate that EPIC’s methods are research-based and comprehensive, which instills a confidence that we’re putting the right information in front of our team.”

The program that is being delivered by EPIC Risk Management for the benefit of the MLSPA members is supported by Entain Foundation U.S.

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