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It’s Everyone’s Game:
25 Years in the Making

It’s Everyone’s Game:
25 Years in the Making

Twenty-five years ago, with the excess proceeds from the ’94 World Cup and the vision of Founder Alan Rothenberg, the U.S. Soccer Foundation was born.

Since our inception, we’ve helped propel the tremendous growth of the game across the country—from the grassroots to the professional leagues. We did it by awarding grants to state associations, local youth soccer clubs, and national youth soccer organizations, like US Youth Soccer and AYSO. We supported the launch of Major League Soccer and professional women’s soccer leagues, including WUSA, WPS, and NWSL. In our 25 years, we’ve invested more than $125 million into the game on all levels and impacted more than 738,000 children.

Despite the phenomenal growth of soccer in the United States, we realized that not everyone had easy and affordable access to play. We shifted our focus to underserved communities—where there were many barriers to the sport. Through Soccer for Success, we’ve provided more children and families greater access to the game and safe places to play.

Our reach in underserved communities is growing fast. Last year alone we engaged 70,000 children in Soccer for Success—a 64% increase from the previous year. This year, we’re aiming for 100,000. We’ve secured funding for more than 330 of the 1,000 mini-pitches we aim to build by 2026. And we’ve already built and opened 160 of these mini-pitches that are being used by children and adults in underserved communities nationwide.

These numbers only tell part of the story. It’s the people behind the numbers who most inspire me. It’s the families and their children who tell us about the transformative change the program has had on their lives. It’s our coach-mentors who are using the game to prepare our next generation of leaders. It’s our partners who are building infrastructure to support play in underserved areas and using the sport to make community improvements that reach far beyond the soccer pitch.

Take the greater Philadelphia area, for example. This past year, three Soccer for Success program partners—who had been working independently in three separate communities—began pooling resources and sharing knowledge. The three programs now run joint Soccer for Success coach-mentor trainings and host large end-of-season jamborees. Together, they are making an even greater impact across the region and families and children from all three programs are gaining new perspectives, meeting new people, and forming a larger united urban soccer community. Soccer for Success is at the root of that bond.

In California, Soccer for Success is enabling the creation of meaningful partnerships from the health and education sectors to achieve collective impact. In San Joaquin and Stanislaus counties, a partnership with Sutter Health will allow 1,000 students to participate in the program this year. What’s unique about this partnership is that, beginning this spring, interns from the local health departments through the county offices of education will work with Soccer for Success sites to conduct health surveys. By measuring and tracking this data, our partners are able build critical support for the program among corporations and local government agencies because of participants’ positive health and youth development outcomes.

The greater Miami-Dade area is a great example of critical cross-sector support that has allowed the program to expand. Due to funding from local city governments, a health insurance provider, and local foundations, our Soccer for Success programs in Miami are now able to serve more children. A national corporation and local government agencies also funded the creation of four new safe places to play in communities of need across the region.

Recently in Tampa, local Target store team members, youth from the Boys & Girls Club, the Sheriff’s Office, and county officials hosted a community day to officially open a new mini-pitch. In addition to soccer scrimmages and activities, residents, volunteers, and families enjoyed healthy snacks from a pop-up farmer’s market and participated in fitness challenges in the areas surrounding the pitch.

Events like this one—that involve many local partners and offer an array of community activities—are occurring across the country. Local Target store team members host a community events on many of the new play spaces created nationwide. Major League Soccer and its MLS clubs often bring players and their street teams to offer a host of activations when mini-pitches open in their cities. MLS clubs also host clinics for local children.

In July, adidas team members in Los Angeles helped install a new mini-pitch in Watts and painted murals around the pitch as part of a greater restoration of the community center. Musco Lighting recently unveiled a new mini-pitch system, complete with lighting, fencing, and goals, that will not only expand the hours of play the pitches can be used, but that also provides communities with the ability to customize artwork and other components of the pitch.

It’s exciting to see more children and families who now have access to the game. But it’s even more incredible to see how each community puts its own spin on Soccer for Success and develops innovative ways for both the program and mini-pitches to bring people together.

That’s what is special about this movement. It looks different in every community because each community is different. Each community is using the beautiful game—and the real difference it makes in people’s lives—to best meet its needs. And that is what is driving the momentum on the national level.

As I take a moment to reflect on the past 25 years, I’m in awe of all the progress that has been made. I’m grateful for everyone who has helped us increase participation, improve lives, and strengthen communities through the game we all love.

We have accomplished a lot together. But we aren’t done yet. When we set our goals to engage 1 million children and build 1,000 new safe places to play, we made a commitment to communities where the need is greatest. We said we’d strive to create a future in which every child has the opportunity to play the game—no matter where he or she lives. We vowed to make soccer everyone’s game.

Until we reach those goals, there is still work to do.

Join us at itseveryonesgame.org.

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Our Partners

  • 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.

  • All Sports Enterprises, Inc.

    All Sports Enterprises, Inc. is the U.S. Soccer Foundation's preferred artificial turf supplier and installer. Whether you are building a new, or renovating an existing facility, All Sports Enterprises, Inc. has the materials and professional installation crews to outfit your entire complex. With over 30 different manufacturers to choose from, All Sports Enterprises, Inc. will assist you in selecting the right products for the right application. Its intallation crews are experienced, certified, and will work with you and your staff to make sure your project is a complete success.


  • 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

  • Hunter

    Hunter Industries, the Foundation's National Partner for Irrigation Equipment, is one of the world's leading manufacturers of irrigation equipment for turf, landscape and soccer fields.  Hunter Industries' focus is on landscape irrigation with a significant part of its business centering on the proper care and maintenance of sports turf. For more information, please visit hunterindustries.com. Please contact Lynda Wightman, 406-273-3073, lynda.wightman@hunterindustries.com with any questions regarding the U.S. Soccer Foundation's grants program.

  • 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, 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

    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.

  • MTJ Sports

    MTJ Sports is honored to be a corporate partner with the U.S. Soccer Foundation and its Safe Places To Play program. We believe in working with our customers as a true business partnership. We cultivate & drive healthy relationships through our core business values and provide premier turnkey services for sports surfaces & equipment from design & manufacturing all the way through the installation process. For more information please visit our website at www.mtjsports.com or contact our president, Mats Jonmarker, directly via email at mats@mtjsports.com.

  • 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, 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.

  • Sport Court

    Sport Court®, the Foundation's Supplier for Futsal Surfaces, has been the industry leader in modular athletic flooring for over 30 years. With more than 50,000 installations worldwide, and the largest and most experienced network of authorized dealers, Sport Court® delivers innovative, durable, high-performance solutions for a variety of sports and activities. For more information, please visit sportcourt.com. Please contact Lauren Gillian at lgillian@sportcourt.com for any questions regarding Sport Court's corporate partnership with the U.S. Soccer Foundation.

  • Target

    Target announced a national partnership with Safe Spaces to Play in 2017, along with a 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, 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

    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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