A Look Back on Symposium 2017!

On April 27-30th, we hosted the 11th annual Urban Soccer Symposium in Washington, DC.

The Symposium kicked off with Capitol Hill Day – where Symposium participants arranged and met with their Congressional representatives on Capitol Hill. Attendees developed relationships with their elected officials and educated them on funding priorities important to their organizations.

Day one of the Symposium began with an exciting session with U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach Jill Ellis, where she discussed the impact soccer had in her life on and off the pitch, her path to becoming the U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach, and advice she had for attendees to continue to engage girls in soccer. Jill left attendees with the advice of “work to build the confidence in your mind so you can take on the challenges of life head on.” 

“It’s part of my blood. I see this game as a gift.” – Jill Ellis

Later, Soccer Without Borders received the inaugural Urban Soccer Symposium Impact Award for their work using soccer to enact measurable and sustainable positive change within communities around the country. Commissioner Kathryn Ott-Lovell of Philadelphia Parks and Recreation was awarded the 2017 Urban Soccer Symposium Influence Award for her commitment to ensuring that children in underserved communities throughout Philadelphia have access to sports-based programming. 

The afternoon was filled with innovative breakout sessions that hit on topics from using soccer as a tool for gang violence intervention, to how data can help improve programming. The day concluded with a poster session, where organizations and attendees networked with their peers and showcased their work in the sports-based youth development field. 

“It’s not about one person, it’s about the team.” – Jay DeMerit

“Create an environment where all kids feel welcome to play and learn from the game.” – Shannon Boxx

Day two began with former U.S. Women’s National Team Star Shannon Boxx and former U.S. Men’s National Team Star Jay DeMerit sharing their stories and challenges with their professional soccer careers. Jay shared his love for the game from an early age because of the teamwork element. 

Shannon shared that when she learned she had lupus, she did not allow it to hold her back, but rather used it as further motivation to be the best she could be. She never missed a U.S. Women’s National Team game or practice. Shannon realized that sharing her story would give her the opportunity to help others by being an advocate for lupus awareness and providing hope so that others with lupus could lead an active lifestyle. 

Soccer in the Streets was awarded the 2017 Urban Soccer Symposium Innovation Award for their use of imaginative tactics and original programming to create positive change in underserved communities. Soccer in the Streets received the award for their Station Soccer Club Program, an initiative that brings soccer to urban areas in Atlanta by developing a network of mini soccer fields and program sites clustered inside or around transportation hubs.

Following the award ceremony, Chekemma J. Fulmore-Townsend, President & CEO of the Philadelphia Youth Network, spoke to attendees about the importance of identifying and partnering with key stakeholders in their respective communities to create lasting positive social change.  

“Even if you won’t see the change, the seeds you plant have life in them.
– Chekemma J. Fulmore-Townsend

The final day of the Symposium began with a heartfelt speech by Adam Foss, Juvenile Justice Reform Advocate, about his personal experience with the U.S. justice system serving as a Prosecutor, the current state of the justice system, and the many barriers that youth in our most neglected communities face.

“People have been waiting for civil rights leaders. Why wait? You are the future civil rights leaders.”
– Adam Foss

The Symposium concluded with a discussion session with former U.S. Soccer Stars Joy Fawcett and Carin Jennings-Gabarra. They discussed their most memorable experiences as members of the U.S. Women’s National Team and the importance of the growth of women’s soccer in the United States and around the world.  

“Even today I learn from the game and the team I played with.”
– Joy Fawcett

“The intangibles you get from the game are life lessons.”
– Carin Jennings-Gabarra

The U.S. Soccer Foundation would like to thank the Symposium’s presenting sponsor, Soccer Shots, champion partner, Score, and supporting partner, Sunsweet, for their support. Additionally, we would like to thank all of the attendees and presenters for participating and helping to make the event special. We are already looking forward to next year’s Symposium!


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  • adidas


    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.

  • CHA


    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.

  • Kwik Goal

    Kwik Goal

    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.



    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.

  • 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

    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


    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 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.

  • TGI Worldwide

    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.

  • World Soccer Shop

    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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