NEW YORK (July 27, 2015) – In celebration of Major League Soccer’s 20th season, MLS WORKS, adidas, the U.S. Soccer Foundation, and Southern New Hampshire University announced a partnership to build 20 mini-pitches in underserved communities in coordination with each of the 20 MLS clubs. Through this initiative, each organization seeks to bring the game of soccer to children who wouldn’t otherwise have the resources or the space to play and therefore receive the sport’s health and social benefits.
“Major League Soccer is committed to increasing the accessibility of soccer, creating sustainable projects that leave a lasting legacy and supporting local youth programs that will encourage children to live a healthy, active lifestyle,” said JoAnn Neale, Chief Administrative Officer, Major League Soccer.
The first mini-pitch was officially unveiled in conjunction with the Colorado Rapids, and on behalf of the 2015 AT&T MLS All-Star game at Ricardo Flores Magon Academy, and will support local youth programs, including Soccer for Success, the U.S. Soccer Foundation’s free after-school program, which is administered locally by the Colorado Rapids Youth Soccer Club.
“Our partnership with MLS is rooted in a desire to grow the game of soccer in America,” said Ernesto Bruce, Senior Director adidas Soccer. “Providing safe, accessible places for athletes to hone their skills not only develops the next generation of soccer stars but shares the game with many kids who’ve never had the resources or opportunity to play.”
Through this initiative, the U.S. Soccer Foundation continues its work to overcome the barriers of access that many children face when it comes to playing the game. In urban, underserved communities, the availability of playing space is limited. To reduce this challenge, the Foundation’s Safe Places to Play program seeks to transform and build safe play spaces that are more conducive to play.
“The U.S. Soccer Foundation is thrilled to celebrate MLS’ 20th season, while making a major impact in communities across the nation,” said Ed Foster-Simeon, President & CEO of the U.S. Soccer Foundation. “Working with strong partners like MLS WORKS, adidas, and Southern New Hampshire University is critical; and by working together we can transform the landscape of communities in a very positive way.”
“Our mission is to make higher education accessible and affordable to all,” explained Paul LeBlanc, president, Southern New Hampshire University. “The after-school programming and healthy lifestyle piece of this initiative provides urban youth with increased access to learning and the building blocks for continuing education. We’re proud to support that and look forward to seeing the impact of this program in communities across the country.”
About MLS WORKS
MLS WORKS is Major League Soccer’s community outreach initiative 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. For more information on MLS WORKS initiatives and charitable partners, please visit the MLS WORKS website (www.MLSsoccer.com/works) and follow us on twitter @MLSWORKS.
adidas is the global leader in soccer. It is the official sponsor / official supplier partner of the most important soccer tournaments in the world, such as the FIFA World Cup™, the FIFA Confederations Cup, the UEFA Champions League, the UEFA Europa League and the UEFA European Championships. adidas also sponsors some of the world’s top clubs including Real Madrid, FC Bayern Munich, AC Milan, Flamengo and Chelsea. Some of the world’s best players also on the adidas roster are Leo Messi, Gareth Bale, Thomas Müller, Luis Suárez, James Rodríguez, Diego Costa and Mesut Özil.
About the U.S. Soccer Foundation
The U.S. Soccer Foundation is a recognized leader in sports-based youth development programs for children in underserved, urban communities. Since its founding in 1994, the organization has provided more than $100 million in funding to create and sustain innovative programs across all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Proven to deliver positive health and social outcomes, the Foundation’s affordable initiatives offer safe environments in which both boys and girls thrive. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the U.S. Soccer Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization. Visit http://www.ussoccerfoundation.org to learn more.
About Southern New Hampshire University
Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) is a nonprofit, regionally accredited, private university with an 80-year history of educating successful professionals. SNHU has a total enrollment of over 55,000 students in more than 200 undergraduate and graduate degree and certificate programs, available online, at our main campus in Manchester, NH, and at our five regional centers in New Hampshire and Maine. The university is regularly recognized with “Best of Business” Awards for best online degree programs, and as a top-military friendly school. Learn more at www.snhu.edu.
U.S. Soccer Foundation
Kristin Lamas Patterson, APR
Southern New Hampshire University