I’ll never forget when I fell in love with soccer.
Growing up in North Carolina, I ate college basketball for breakfast, lunch and dinner and for desert I indulged in the other football. As a lover of all things sport, I was interested in soccer but I never had the chance to play. At the time, there were no youth leagues or organizations near my neighborhood that offered opportunities for children to play recreationally. Nevertheless, my interest in the game never wavered and a few years ago I had an experience with soccer that changed my life forever both personally and professionally.
So, here is what happened the day soccer swept me off my feet.
In 2010, I attended the Mexico v. New Zealand match in Pasadena, CA. I was sitting in a hospitality suite, when I took a moment to envelop myself in the energy of the game; over 90,000 people loudly cheering, allegiances shouted for 90 minutes strong, everyone displaying a passion I couldn’t remember seeing at any sporting event in my life. I understood enthusiasm and giving your heart to a team and a sport you love, but this fandom felt like it was on another level.
I loved every minute. From that moment on, I wanted to figure out a way to harness the love of sport, specifically soccer, and apply it to something truly impactful.
There are many places in the U.S. where the access to participate in a quality sports-based program is limited. Imagine if children in those areas had an opportunity to play a sport that required very little resources to play and offered both health and social benefits. What if there was a way to reach thousands of children through sport, connect them with caring coaches and impact their lives in a dynamic way? What if you engaged children using a sport that is cross-generational, cross-cultural, gender neutral and has global appeal?
What if you could positively affect the lives of children using soccer? At the U.S. Soccer Foundation, we do just that. Every day, I work with an awesome team and utilize our love of sport to improve the well-being of children nationwide.
So, why soccer?
At the U.S. Soccer Foundation, we show you the why and the how. Click here to learn about our work and ways that you can get involved.