Hear from the Executive Director of The DICK’S Sporting Goods Foundation

We chatted with Aimee Watters, the Executive Director of The DICK’S Sporting Goods Foundation about her love for the game and our partnership together. Check out what she shared!

Q: What impact has sports had on your life?
A: I started to play soccer when I was three and played through college. Looking back at my career, I am so thankful to the sport and all that it has provided me. It has given me my best friends, opened doors to career opportunities, and has taught me invaluable life lessons, like how to work hard, how to be a good teammate, and how lead others.

Q: Why was it important for the DICK’S Sporting Goods Foundation to invest in United for Girls?
A: At DICK’S we believe that sports make people better. (Check out what we are doing through Sports Matter at sportsmatter.org.) Kids who are involved in sports are more likely to get good grades, go on to graduate college, and are less likely to get in trouble. Sports build character and teach life lessons like teamwork and perseverance. Unfortunately, today, girls participate in sports less than boys, and their window of play is briefer. At DICK’S, we want to ensure all girls have an opportunity to benefit from the great benefits that sports provide. Through the United for Girls partnership we believe that we will help impact that gender participation gap in sports by creating safe places to play and funding youth soccer coaching and training opportunities in underserved communities with the goal of engaging 100,000 girls by 2023.

Q: What are you most looking forward to achieving through this partnership?
A: I am looking forward to giving girls, who may have otherwise never had the opportunity, the gift of soccer. Being able to give back to a sport that has given me so much is a dream come true. Knowing that The DICK’S Foundation’s partnership with United for Girls will not only give girls in underserved communities facilities and curriculum to play but will also provide them with life lessons that will serve them well outside of the pitch is a proud and exciting moment.

Q: What’s one lesson you learned on the field that you could apply to your daily life?
A: Hard work. Soccer has taught me that nothing of value comes easy and hard work leads to success. I take that lesson with me every day. While my definition of ‘hard work’ has changed throughout the years from sprints and soccer drills to presentation deadlines and meetings, I have taken the lessons of working hard and giving it my best with me.

Q: In addition to corporations, why do you think individuals should invest in these kinds of programs, too?
A: Sports are important to youth development and there is a funding crisis. Twenty-four percent of high schools don’t offer team sports and 42% of families who don’t participate in sports cite costs as the main reason for not playing. As a community we need to rally together to ensure that all kids have a chance to play and benefit from sports.

Q: Favorite moment/player in women’s soccer history?
A: ’99 Women’s World Cup changed my life. I was a teenager at the time and seeing Team USA in the national spotlight for those few weeks changed how I thought about female athletes. It made me proud to be a soccer player and a girl and inspired me to reach for my dreams both on and off the field.

Q: Penalty kicks to decide big games — love ’em or leave ’em?
A: Leave ‘em. The winner of a penalty kick doesn’t really represent the best team and they are brutal on the soccer player’s psyche!

Q: What do you love playing more — offense or defense?
A: Defense all the way. Give me a woman to mark or a goal to defend any day of the week.

Check out how The DICK’S Sporting Goods Foundation is using sports to make people better though its Sports Matter initiative at sportsmatter.org. Learn more about United for Girls, our initiative to engage more girls and female coach-mentors in the game, at this link.


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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.

  • APT


    APT (Advanced Polymer Technology), the Foundation’s Partner for Acrylic Coating Products, is a global leader in high performance sports surfaces. APT provides people around the world with safe, reliable, performance enhancing surfaces. APT’s Laykold Masters acrylic surfacing system will be the official surface of an estimated 500 mini-pitches. For more information on APT, please visit www.sportsbyapt.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.

  • Johnson & Johnson

    Johnson & Johnson

    Johnson & Johnson, the Foundation’s grant partner, is dedicated to supporting the next generation of female leaders by providing greater access to girls’ youth soccer programming in underserved communities nationwide. As the world’s largest and most broadly based healthcare company, Johnson & Johnson strives to create healthier communities, and put a healthy mind, body and environment within reach of everyone, everywhere. For more information, please visit www.jnj.com.

  • 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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