On December 6th, the U.S. Soccer Foundation was joined at Gage Park in Chicago by national and local partners, former U.S. National Team stars, Foundation supporters, and local community members to launch It’s Everyone’s Game – our national campaign to increase access to soccer programming and build new Safe Places to Play.
The event kicked off with remarks from our President & CEO, Ed Foster-Simeon, who shared the Foundation’s goal to build 1,000 mini-pitches and provide quality soccer programming for 1 million children annually by 2026.
“This is a new era at the U.S. Soccer Foundation for kids and communities nationwide,” said Foster-Simeon. “We believe in one simple idea – the power of soccer to change lives.”
Foster-Simeon emphasized the important role that coach-mentors play in children’s lives. “Well-trained coach-mentors can be the difference between a child who can go on to change the world and a child who falls between the cracks.”
During the event, the Foundation announced that adidas, Major League Soccer, Musco Lighting, and Target have committed to assisting the Foundation in advancing the mission of It’s Everyone’s Game.
Additionally, the Mayor of Chicago, the Chicago Park District, Citadel, and the Chicago Fire Soccer Club announced their local support for the campaign by committing to build 50 mini-pitches around the City of Chicago over the next five years. This project is being made possible thanks to a generous gift from philanthropist and CEO of Citadel, Ken Griffin, with support from the Chicago Fire Soccer Club.
“I know in 50 neighborhoods around the City of Chicago, kids and adults are going to have better success because of this partnership,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “I cannot think of a better investment and a better complement to the effort.”
Aaron Maines, adidas Director of Sports Marketing, shared adidas’ excitement for joining the campaign. “We at adidas believe in the power of sport to change lives and we know the Foundation shares the same belief,” said Maines. “We are thrilled to be a part of It’s Everyone’s Game.”
Former U.S. National Team stars Cobi Jones, Kristine Lilly, Brian McBride, and Staci Wilson attended to commit their support to It’s Everyone’s Game. Lilly spoke about the impact soccer had in her life and the importance of providing the game to all children.
“The soccer field was where I was most comfortable and free,” said Lilly. “The lessons I learned from my teammates and coaches were just as valued off the field as on it. We must make sure that every child who wants to play soccer can have access to quality programming and a safe place to play in their neighborhood.”
The event concluded with students from Calmeca Academy taking to the adjacent mini-pitch to demonstrate Soccer for Success – the Foundation’s nationally recognized after-school program. The students were joined on the pitch by the former National Team stars, Ed Foster-Simeon, Mayor Emanuel, members of the Chicago Fire Soccer Club and Chicago Red Stars, and Soccer for Success coach-mentors and facilitators.
For over 20 years, the Foundation has worked to increase access to the game through providing quality soccer programming and building soccer pitches in communities throughout the United States. Now, we are excited to expand the impact and benefits of the game even further.
It’s not something we can do overnight and we can’t do it alone. But together, we will do it.
Join the Foundation in making soccer everyone’s game. Stay up to date on the campaign, and learn ways to get involved at itseveryonesgame.org.