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. Inspired by a passion for the beautiful game and a high school business project, SOCCER.COM began as a simple concept: a mail order catalog offering the premier soccer products from around the world. Today, the company has over 700 employees (fulltime, part-time, and seasonal), and over a million monthly catalog subscribers.
The U.S. Soccer Foundation’s relationship with SOCCER.COM extends beyond that of corporate partnership. In 1991, a friend of the family-owned business came to purchase soccer balls to bring with him on a Peace Corps mission in Malawi. The company donated extra uniforms for him to distribute as well. This moment sparked the realization that many families and individuals across the country inevitably had usable, yet unused, soccer gear. As kids outgrow their gear, and equipment goes untouched, a donation opportunity is created. SOCCER.COM began a campaign to collect gently used gear and equipment to pass on to medical teams, missionaries, and military organizations. These groups then distributed the equipment to those without access to sports equipment.
This campaign was the start of our Passback program. Thanks to SOCCER.COM, Passback has distributed almost 1 million items to people in under-resourced communities and has helped the game reach those who otherwise would not have a chance to play.
“It is incredible to think that what began as gathering together a few soccer items to send to a friend in the Peace Corp has grown into what the Passback program is today. While passing the millionth piece of equipment donated through the program is an incredible milestone, it is the positive impact that each piece has made along that way both to the recipient and donor that is true success story.” – Brendan Moylan, Passback Founder and Sports Endeavors, Inc. Owner
“It’s been exciting to partner with the U.S. Soccer Foundation as they have helped make the program what it is today. Surpassing the millionth piece for the Passback program would have never been possible without the support of soccer families, youth clubs, manufacturers, and the US Soccer Foundation!” – Durward Williams, Director of Strategic Alliances
“It is hard to put into words the impact Passback has had on so many individuals and teams throughout the years. While we hope that the Passback recipients have given life to the donated soccer equipment, we know that the program has provided so much to us at SOCCER.COM. It is incredible to think of the journey a pair of outgrown boots or an extra soccer ball has made from a closet in the United States to a field in Uganda. The Passback gear that we have sent out has truly made a global impact. From Namibia to Nepal, Honduras to Haiti; this equipment has reached people and places all over the world. We owe so much to the beautiful game and Passback has given us this chance to share it, but even for this we cannot take much credit. We are merely the organizers of this Passback gear. The true credit goes out to the many individuals and groups that have donated equipment and organized collections. Passback is only as strong as the lightly used and new equipment we are able to collect and with nothing coming in, there would be nothing going out. As we approach the millionth piece of donated gear, we are excited to briefly sit back and think of the remarkable journey of this equipment, while also reflecting on the many relationships and friendships that have been created with our collectors and those that have taken these donations to places around the world. This reflection cannot last long however, as the need for additional Passback gear always far exceeds the ability of Passback to fulfill this need. We need to begin looking toward the two-millionth piece of equipment and how we can motivate more collectors to help us bring this incredible game to more people around the world.” –Mike Thomas, Passback Director