A Family Affair

“I’ve never played soccer.”

These words ring true for many Soccer for Success participants and coach-mentors alike.

For Kara at the Boys & Girls Club of Queen Creek in Arizona, this is what has made her experience with Soccer for Success all the more meaningful.

Kara started at the Boys & Girls Club a little over seven years ago in the art department, but was soon promoted to the youth development director position, which oversees all the national programs at the Club, including Soccer for Success.

For the last seven years, Kara and her husband, Kenny, have been involved in all aspects of the sports programs. Kenny volunteers to coach as many sports as possible. “He’s just always helped out in different sports,” Kara remembers. “He enjoys it, probably just as much as I do.”

Roughly two years ago, the Boys & Girls Club of Queen Creek started implementing Soccer for Success into its after-school programming. For Kara and Kenny, who played softball and football growing up, the soccer program was a new step. “Unless I played it in P.E. growing up, I actually never played soccer,” Kara admits.

“When Kara first asked me to coach for the Club’s flag football league, I jumped at the opportunity,” says Kenny. “I love football and of course I had no problem helping her out…Then soccer came and it was just the next sport I knew I was going to coach even though I never had experience playing or coaching the sport.”

Despite a lack of experience with the sport, Kara and Kenny jumped right in. For Kara, the curriculum proved helpful as a learning tool for both her and her participants. “I like seeing step-by-step-by-step and I think this program is perfect because it literally is all written out in front of you,” she says. “And I love that.”

But Kara and Kenny are not the only members of the family enjoying the game. Their two children, Peyton and Hudson, also come to the Club to play soccer.

Peyton says that her favorite part is that her dad, also known as “Coach Dad,” is her coach. She always remembers his advice to “play your best and try hard.” Hudson will officially participate in Soccer for Success as a five-year-old this fall.

For Kenny, having a relationship with his kids through sports is important. “I grew up playing Pop Warner football and my dad coached me and I remember the impact it had on me,” he says. “I also enjoy seeing kids succeed at something they thought they couldn’t. She probably doesn’t remember, but it was the best feeling when my daughter scored her first goal.”

For Kara, the Soccer for Success program taught her that soccer is more than what meets the eye. “I think it’s a really fun program and I have learned a lot…just from running the program for the last year,” she says.

Kenny has also learned how important sports can be in a child’s life. “Sometimes a sport is the only normal or consistent thing in their lives,” he explains. “Just getting out there with the kids on scrimmage or game days and seeing what they’ve learned is the best part.”

For some members of the local Boys & Girls Club, like Dave, the Club’s branch manager, it is Kara and her family who have made the impact. “It’s really heartwarming to see a family out there playing together, coaching together, having fun together, encouraging kids,” Dave says.

But Kara and Kenny consider the whole Club as part of the family. “They treat all the kids like their kids,” Dave explains. “They don’t expect any more out of [their own kids] than they expect from the other children.”

Kenny says that “even kids who I’ve never coached…call me Coach Kenny when I walk into the Club and it’s great.”

This past program year was the Club’s biggest year ever for soccer and Dave owes much of that growth to Kara and her family. “[Kara’s] family puts enthusiasm into it, and the kids feed off of that,” he asserts. “Their energy is contagious.”

Soccer for Success coach-mentors and participants like Kara, Kenny, Peyton, and Hudson are gearing up for the upcoming fall season. Learn more about the components of the Foundation’s evidence-based soccer program here.

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adidas, the Foundation’s Safe Places to Play – Mini-Pitch Partner, supports providing children in underserved communities with safe play spaces nationwide. adidas strives to be the globally leading and most popular sporting goods brand. Dedicated to innovation,  adidas embraces creativity and seeks to be socially responsible in all facets of its brand. For more information, please visit adidas.com.

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CHA Sports, the Foundation’s Supplier for Soccer Facility Design and Planning Services, provides community partners with expertise in soccer facility design. CHA Sport’s full service approach allows the company to build world-class projects without breaking budgets. For more information, please visit chacompanies.com

The DICK'S Sporting Goods Foundation

The DICK'S Sporting Goods Foundation

DICK’S Sporting Goods and The DICK’S Sporting Goods Foundation believe that participation in sports makes people better. Since 2014, DICK’S and The DICK’S Foundation have pledged more than $100 million to support youth sports teams and leagues in need.  Through our Sports Matter initiative we strive to increase awareness for underfunded youth athletics nationwide and provide much-needed support through equipment, uniform and monetary donations. For more information on Sports Matter, visit SportsMatter.org.

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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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MLS WORKS, Major League Soccer’s community outreach initiative, is dedicated to addressing important social issues and serves as a platform for both League and club philanthropic programs. MLS WORKS seeks to establish Major League Soccer as a leader for improving the lives of people through sport. MLS WORKS is committed to improving the communities where we live and play our games by executing national programs and legacy projects, charitable giving campaigns, and undertaking various initiatives in underserved communities.

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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.

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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.

Soccer.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.

 

 

 

Target

Target

Target announced a national partnership with Safe Places to Play in 2017, along with a $6 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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TGI Worldwide

TGI Worldwide, the Foundation’s National Partner for Visual Branding (Signage, Event Décor, Pageantry, Sponsorship Activation), Perimeter Field Board Systems, Creative Services and Event Operations is proud to support a variety of initiatives and programs throughout the United States. Headquartered in the U.S., TGI is an internationally recognized sports marketing company delivering high profile Visual Branding, Live Event Management, LED, and cutting edge Digital Sports Applications to enrich the experience at major events and deliver commercial impact for sponsors and partners. The company has a 20-year history in providing its various solutions for many top-tier domestic and international events, organizations, teams and companies, with proven success and turn-key solutions across 1000+ events, 160+ cities and 50+ countries globally.

For more information on our services, please visit https://www.worldwidetgi.com or contact Mike Squire at msquire@worldwidetgi.com / Phone: 312-371-5852.

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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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