Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Soccer Foundation presented three awards at its 11th annual Urban Soccer Symposium to celebrate achievements of individuals and organizations in the sports-based youth development network. The inaugural Urban Soccer Symposium Awards were given out in three categories: influence, innovation and impact.
“We are proud to present the inaugural Urban Soccer Symposium Awards to Soccer in the Streets, Soccer Without Borders, and Philadelphia Parks and Recreation Commissioner Kathryn Ott Lovell for their exceptional achievements in the sports-based youth development community,” said Ed Foster-Simeon, President & CEO of the U.S. Soccer Foundation. “Through this award we are excited to highlight some of the best practices in the field and recognize meaningful change that sport is having in communities across the country.”
Philadelphia Parks and Recreation Commissioner Kathryn Ott Lovell received the 2017 Influence Award, which was awarded to an individual holding public office who has leveraged their position to support and champion sports-based youth development efforts in underserved communities. She was recognized for her commitment to ensure that children in communities throughout Philadelphia have access to sports-based programming. Earlier this month, Commissioner Ott Lovell launched the Unity Cup and Unity Youth Soccer League with the Philadelphia Mayor’s Office. The soccer program will be offered to 8 to 12-year-olds and will encourage participants to live an active and healthy lifestyle while enhancing their personal growth beyond athletics.
Soccer in the Streets received the 2017 Innovation Award for utilizing imaginative tactics and original programming to create positive change in underserved communities. Soccer in the Streets received the award for its work to launch the Station Soccer Club Program, an initiative that brings soccer to urban areas in Atlanta by developing a network of mini soccer fields and program sites clustered inside or around transportation hubs. Through the program, children play at the station and use it to connect with other communities across the city. After the initial pilot is completed this spring, Soccer in the Streets plans to expand the network to ten Station Soccer Club Programs (completed over the next three years) to create the first ever public transit-based soccer league.
Soccer Without Borders received the Impact Award for its work to use sport to enact measurable and sustainable positive change within an underserved community for at least five years. Founded in 2006, Soccer Without Borders’ mission is to use soccer as a vehicle for positive change by providing underserved refugee and immigrant youth with a toolkit to overcome obstacles to growth, inclusion, and personal success in the United States. Soccer Without Borders serves more than 1,800 newcomer youth annually, from more than 60 countries and 25 different linguistic backgrounds. They offer programming in Baltimore, Boston, Colorado and Oakland. Since 2007, 95 percent of regular Soccer Without Borders participants have graduated from high school; of these, 92 percent have gone on to two or four year colleges.
The awards were presented during the U.S. Soccer Foundation’s 2017 Urban Soccer Symposium, the nation’s premier event where executive directors, mentors and program administrators learn and exchange best practices in the use of soccer as vehicle for youth development.
Award nominees were identified through a nomination process. In total, 23 nominations were submitted for the Innovation, Impact and Influence Awards. The 2017 Urban Soccer Symposium Committee, comprised of leaders in the sports-based youth development movement, chose the winning organizations for the Innovation and Impact categories. The Foundation’s Government Relations Team assisted the committee in identifying the winner of the Influence Award.
About the U.S. Soccer Foundation
The U.S. Soccer Foundation’s programs are the national model for sports-based youth development in underserved communities. Since its founding in 1994, the Foundation has established programs proven to help children embrace an active and healthy lifestyle while nurturing their personal growth beyond sports. Its cost-effective, high-impact initiatives offer safe environments where kids and communities thrive. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the U.S. Soccer Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization. For more information, visit www.ussoccerfoundation.org or follow us on Twitter at @ussoccerfndn and Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ussoccerfoundation.