KIDS IN SOCCER FOR SUCCESS GROUP-MENTORING PROGRAM OVERWHELMINGLY WORK BETTER ON TEAMS, HAVE POSITIVE OUTLOOK ON FUTURE

July 13, 2016

WASHINGTON – A new study finds that the U.S. Soccer Foundation’s Soccer for Success program has an overwhelmingly positive influence on the lives of its participants. According to an independent evaluation conducted by American Institutes for Research (AIR), 88 percent of Soccer for Success participants work better on a team, 81 percent of participants feel better about their future, and 76 percent of participants stay away from fighting.

Based on the findings, AIR determined that Soccer for Success meets MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership’s nationally-recognized benchmarks for mentoring programs, and represents a strong and effective model for sports-themed group mentoring programs. AIR notes that this study represents a “unique opportunity to build on the knowledge base on what effective group mentoring within a sports-themed program looks like.”

More than 71,000 boys and girls have participated in Soccer for Success, which is a national group mentoring program that teaches kids in underserved communities the fundamentals of soccer while striving to help them build confidence and recognize the value of hard work, teamwork and persistence in achieving personal goals.

The study, conducted during the 2014-2015 academic year and supported by a Department of Justice Multi-State Mentoring grant award, evaluated the youth development and sports-themed group mentorship program of Soccer for Success. It found that the program is “noteworthy in that it is a strategy to prepare, train, and support adults to understand how to best work with youth from underserved communities.”

Soccer for Success uses soccer as a training ground for the game of life. Guided by trained coach-mentors, participants learn teamwork and develop leadership skills that will help them become productive citizens,” said Ed Foster-Simeon, President & CEO of the U.S. Soccer Foundation. “This study underscores the transformative effect Soccer for Success has on participants. Our proven training program teaches coaches how to build kids’ soccer skills, and just as importantly, how to build character and life skills through play. We’re proud that our program meets MENTOR’s nationally-recognized standards for mentorship programs and thrilled that it is a strong and effective model of what a group mentoring program should look like.”

The study’s findings build on a 2014 Healthy Networks Design & Research (HNDR) evaluation, in which Soccer for Success participants showed significantly better health results than non-participants. Together, these two studies demonstrate that Soccer for Success improves the health and youth development outcomes of the kids it serves, and shows the positive impact of the group-mentoring model.

The study underscored that the program’s nearly 1,500 coach-mentors aren’t there to merely coach, but that they are focused on mentoring. “It is remarkable that the coach-mentors come to care especially about their ability to make a difference in the lives of the children they serve,” AIR writes.

As the unifying champion for youth mentoring in the United States, MENTOR sets guidelines for quality assessment, continuous improvement and recognition of mentorship programs nationwide.

“Research suggests that group mentoring programs can produce an array of positive outcomes for young people, and have the potential to be effective across a wide range of participants,” said MENTOR’s Director of Knowledge Management Mike Garringer. “Mentoring programs like Soccer for Success illustrate that high-quality group-mentoring models can lead to improved health outcomes for young people, especially when centered around physical activity and recreation, as well as developmental outcomes.”

The study’s release precedes the U.S. Soccer Foundation’s National Training event, which brings together more than 150 Soccer for Success trainers from across the country to prepare coach-mentors for the upcoming season of Soccer for Success.  This year’s event takes place July 14 through July16 in Washington, D.C. and will feature speakers from the White House, and local and state leaders.

For more information on the study, please visit: ussoccerfoundation.org/impact/evaluation

For more information on Soccer for Success, please visit: ussoccerfoundation.org/programs/soccer-for-success

MEDIA CONTACT:


Jennie Westbrook Courts
202.360.4061

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    Hunter Industries, the Foundation's National Partner for Irrigation Equipment, is one of the world's leading manufacturers of irrigation equipment for turf, landscape and soccer fields.  Hunter Industries' focus is on landscape irrigation with a significant part of its business centering on the proper care and maintenance of sports turf. For more information, please visit hunterindustries.com. Please contact Lynda Wightman, 406-273-3073, lynda.wightman@hunterindustries.com with any questions regarding the U.S. Soccer Foundation's grants program.

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    Johnson & Johnson, the Foundation’s grant partner, is dedicated to supporting the next generation of female leaders by providing greater access to girls’ youth soccer programming in underserved communities nationwide. As the world’s largest and most broadly based healthcare company, Johnson & Johnson strives to create healthier communities, and put a healthy mind, body and environment within reach of everyone, everywhere. For more information, please visit www.jnj.com.

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    Kwik Goal, the Foundation’s Official Supplier for goals, seating, boundary equipment, training equipment and coaching accessories, will be supporting a variety of Foundation programs and initiatives including: Soccer for Success, National Training and the Safe Places to Play program. Over thirty years ago, Kwik Goal was founded on the revolutionary concept of providing transportable goals for coaches at all age levels. Since that time, Kwik Goal has continued to focus on helping coaches and soccer programs create safe and dynamic learning environments by supplying high quality, safety tested soccer goals, field equipment and training equipment to the domestic and international market. For more information, please visit Kwikgoal.com.

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  • MTJ Sports

    MTJ Sports is honored to be a corporate partner with the U.S. Soccer Foundation and its Safe Places To Play program. We believe in working with our customers as a true business partnership. We cultivate & drive healthy relationships through our core business values and provide premier turnkey services for sports surfaces & equipment from design & manufacturing all the way through the installation process. For more information please visit our website at www.mtjsports.com or contact our president, Mats Jonmarker, directly via email at mats@mtjsports.com.

  • Musco

    As a proud corporate partner of the U.S. Soccer Foundation, Musco is dedicated to helping the major charitable arm of American soccer create new opportunities through high-quality sports lighting. Their Total Light Control—TLC for LED™ technology is engineered as a system with lighting, structural, and electrical components designed to work together for streamlined installation and long-term reliability. TLC for LED delivers superior field lighting while eliminating glare and spill from impacting surrounding neighborhoods. And Musco’s long-term warranty covering parts and labor means U.S. Soccer Foundation partners don’t have to handle any maintenance on their system, or pay for it, for 25 years. Visit https://ussoccerfoundation.org/grants/ to learn more about the grant program and application process.

  • SCORE Sports

    SCORE Sports, the preferred provider of shin guards to the Foundation’s Soccer for Success program, is a family-owned and operated business specializing in sports equipment, uniforms and apparel. SCORE is an industry leader and has been involved in the sports community for over 40 years. SCORE outfits athletes with high-quality uniforms that SCORE develops, designs and manufactures in the U.S. SCORE takes pride in working with various non-profit groups and causes to give back to athletes who may need some extra support to play the game they love. SCORE is environmentally cautious with the materials it uses for its products and does its part in minimizing our environmental footprint. SCORE proudly offers a wide variety of products to provide customers with a one-stop shop for all your soccer needs. For more information, please visit scoresports.com.

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    Soccer.com, the Foundation's National Partner for Soccer Equipment and Uniforms, was founded in 1984 to provide high quality soccer gear at reasonable prices through its nationally circulated catalog. Soccer.com embodies a passion for the game that extends to the people who play, coach and support soccer. For more information, please visit soccer.com.

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    Sport Court®, the Foundation's Supplier for Futsal Surfaces, has been the industry leader in modular athletic flooring for over 30 years. With more than 50,000 installations worldwide, and the largest and most experienced network of authorized dealers, Sport Court® delivers innovative, durable, high-performance solutions for a variety of sports and activities. For more information, please visit sportcourt.com. Please contact Lauren Gillian at lgillian@sportcourt.com for any questions regarding Sport Court's corporate partnership with the U.S. Soccer Foundation.

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    Target announced a national partnership with Safe Spaces to Play in 2017, along with a million commitment to build 100 new soccer play spaces with the U.S. Soccer Foundation by 2020. This is the latest initiative in the Minneapolis-based retailer’s multi-dimensional approach to the sport of soccer, bringing the game to more kids and families across the country, and unlocking access and increasing involvement at all levels.

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  • World Soccer Shop

    Launched in 2001, World Soccer Shop is an online soccer retailer based in Birmingham, Alabama. It carries one of the world’s widest selections of officially-licensed products from the sport’s top brands and teams. World Soccer Shop is passionate about soccer and endeavors to spread the beautiful game around the world, especially to those in areas of need. For more information, please visit www.worldsoccershop.com.

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