Goal.com Interview with Ed Foster-Simeon

Goal.com recently interviewed our President and CEO, Ed Foster-Simeon, about the Foundation and some of the challenges we’re tackling:

Goal.com: You recently ran a social media contest inviting people to submit photos of fields they wished to develop on Twitter and Instagram, with finalists voting via Facebook. How did the exposure for this contest compare with any similar efforts in the past that didn’t use social media channels so aggressively?

Ed Foster-Simeon: We ran a social media-based contest called “Field of Dreams,” in which we asked the general public to submit photos of a space that they wanted to turn into a soccer field for their community.

Finalists of the contest were determined by photo “likes” on Facebook and Instagram. Finalists were then invited to submit additional information about why they needed a field and the impact the field would have on their community. The winner of the contest received a planning grant from us, to help jumpstart the planning phase for a new field.

The “Field of Dreams” contest engaged close to three times the number of applicants we normally see in a standard grant cycle. In addition to seeing an increase in applicants, we also saw an increase in social media activity as more people began to pay attention to our page as well as engage in terms of liking, commenting or tweeting. Just as an example, we received over 1,000 likes to our Facebook from this contest alone. Just as importantly, the contest made many more people aware of the pressing need for more safe places to play and got those people talking about solutions.

Goal.com: Former U.S. national team goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann recently expressed his displeasure to one of our writers about the lack of physical education his son received at his new school in Seattle after moving back from England, saying: “My 12-year-old doesn’t even have P.E., then the school wonders why kids act up at lunch time while they get a 20-minute break for the whole day… how can a 12-year-old not have any chance to go run around and not burn off energy during the day, and then they expect them to pay attention in class? It just doesn’t make sense to me.”

How much of a problem has lack of active time for young kids in school been in regards to issues like childhood obesity, and how is the U.S. Soccer Foundation working to change that situation?

Ed Foster-Simeon: The youth of today are facing a major health crisis with the childhood obesity epidemic. One third of the nation’s children are overweight or obese. One in three. That comes with serious human and economic costs. Unless things change, experts indicate that this generation will be the first in which the children will have a lower life expectancy than their parents. Moreover, the direct and indirect costs of inactivity cost the country more than $146 billion in 2008. To address this problem, we know that it is imperative for children to have opportunities to not only eat healthier but get physically active.

Soccer is a great sport for improving health because of its continuous nature and its low barrier of entry – you really only need a ball to play. We work primarily in urban, under-resourced communities and it is important for us to know what challenges children face in those communities in order to make a meaningful impact.

We know that the most dangerous time of the day for children is after-school.

Read the complete interview with Ed at Goal.com.


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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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