No Holds Bard: Halftime Adjustments

Sports can take us on different paths through life. We all may start our journeys the same way – playing in a youth league, on the streets or grassy fields with our closest friends and family – however as we grow older, our journeys take us in different directions. Six months ago, I was fortunate enough, through hard work and perseverance, to take my love of sport and my commitment to public interest and turn it into a Fellowship opportunity with the U.S. Soccer Foundation. Now more than halfway through 2013, I have spent some time looking inward and identifying how my time at the Foundation has helped my personal and professional development. Over the course of my Fellowship, I have grown closer to my community, better understood the strategic decisions that make nonprofit organizations sustainable, and witnessed firsthand how even a small donation of one’s time or resources can make a difference.

The funny thing is, it seems that the Foundation is also evolving. Since January, the Foundation has taken on new challenges in an effort to continue to grow its programs, and has developed into a nonprofit organization that is equipped to operate in today’s environment.

For instance, the Foundation is preparing to begin the Fall 2013 season of its Soccer for Success program. Only 2 years ago, Soccer for Success was still a budding program, serving 8,000 children in 8 cities. However, with the generosity of the Social Innovation Fund, in 2012 the Foundation was able to undergo a mass expansion of its afterschool program model, more than doubling its participants, and becoming a household name in major markets nationwide. Always striving for innovation, the Foundation is already strategizing and investigating new models of expansion for Soccer for Success, with the goal to elicit change in a sustainable way.

Another example of the Foundation’s evolution can be seen through the Passback program. Beginning in 1989, the program has continuously evolved to become one of the premier programs for equipment collection and redistribution. The Passback program relies heavily on the generosity of individuals, who take it upon themselves to donate their own money, equipment, time, and hard work for the greater good of the game. The ability of the Foundation to continue to solicit large quantities of new and used soccer equipment, and to find terrific but under-resourced organizations in need of  Passback donations, is another testament to the organization’s ability to adapt to the current environment.

I am continuously surprised and impressed by the Foundation’s lofty goals, as well as its capacity to meet such through creative and strategic programming and development. One of the reasons I believe the Foundation is able to achieve such growth, especially within Soccer for Success, is that nonprofits are seen today as a source of innovation for solving social problems. Like other nonprofits, the U.S. Soccer Foundation’s smaller scale and greater proximity to the communities enables it to find solutions and improve the social landscape.

And that is where I find myself today. With a few months left in my Fellowship, I have developed an “itch” to join the cause and to improve the world around me. Living in Washington, DC and working for this powerful nonprofit has sparked something within myself, something I wasn’t sure of 6 months ago. I am excited to see what the Foundation has planned over the next 6 months, but I cannot wait to see how I grow and what I learn over that same time, and where it takes me next.


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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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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



    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 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

  •, 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. embodies a passion for the game that extends to the people who play, coach and support soccer. For more information, please visit

  • 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 or contact Mike Squire at / 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


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