WASHINGTON – A new study finds that the U.S. Soccer Foundation’s Soccer for Success program has an overwhelmingly positive influence on the lives of its participants. According to an independent evaluation conducted by American Institutes for Research (AIR), 88 percent of Soccer for Success participants work better on a team, 81 percent of participants feel better about their future, and 76 percent of participants stay away from fighting.

Based on the findings, AIR determined that Soccer for Success meets MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership’s nationally-recognized benchmarks for mentoring programs, and represents a strong and effective model for sports-themed group mentoring programs. AIR notes that this study represents a “unique opportunity to build on the knowledge base on what effective group mentoring within a sports-themed program looks like.”

More than 71,000 boys and girls have participated in Soccer for Success, which is a national group mentoring program that teaches kids in underserved communities the fundamentals of soccer while striving to help them build confidence and recognize the value of hard work, teamwork and persistence in achieving personal goals.

The study, conducted during the 2014-2015 academic year and supported by a Department of Justice Multi-State Mentoring grant award, evaluated the youth development and sports-themed group mentorship program of Soccer for Success. It found that the program is “noteworthy in that it is a strategy to prepare, train, and support adults to understand how to best work with youth from underserved communities.”

Soccer for Success uses soccer as a training ground for the game of life. Guided by trained coach-mentors, participants learn teamwork and develop leadership skills that will help them become productive citizens,” said Ed Foster-Simeon, President & CEO of the U.S. Soccer Foundation. “This study underscores the transformative effect Soccer for Success has on participants. Our proven training program teaches coaches how to build kids’ soccer skills, and just as importantly, how to build character and life skills through play. We’re proud that our program meets MENTOR’s nationally-recognized standards for mentorship programs and thrilled that it is a strong and effective model of what a group mentoring program should look like.”

The study’s findings build on a 2014 Healthy Networks Design & Research (HNDR) evaluation, in which Soccer for Success participants showed significantly better health results than non-participants. Together, these two studies demonstrate that Soccer for Success improves the health and youth development outcomes of the kids it serves, and shows the positive impact of the group-mentoring model.

The study underscored that the program’s nearly 1,500 coach-mentors aren’t there to merely coach, but that they are focused on mentoring. “It is remarkable that the coach-mentors come to care especially about their ability to make a difference in the lives of the children they serve,” AIR writes.

As the unifying champion for youth mentoring in the United States, MENTOR sets guidelines for quality assessment, continuous improvement and recognition of mentorship programs nationwide.

“Research suggests that group mentoring programs can produce an array of positive outcomes for young people, and have the potential to be effective across a wide range of participants,” said MENTOR’s Director of Knowledge Management Mike Garringer. “Mentoring programs like Soccer for Success illustrate that high-quality group-mentoring models can lead to improved health outcomes for young people, especially when centered around physical activity and recreation, as well as developmental outcomes.”

The study’s release precedes the U.S. Soccer Foundation’s National Training event, which brings together more than 150 Soccer for Success trainers from across the country to prepare coach-mentors for the upcoming season of Soccer for Success.  This year’s event takes place July 14 through July16 in Washington, D.C. and will feature speakers from the White House, and local and state leaders.

For more information on the study, please visit:

For more information on Soccer for Success, please visit:


Jennie Westbrook Courts


  • 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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