Washington, D.C.Around the world, soccer bridges divides between countries and communities while capturing the attention of billions of fans each year. Here in the United States, the U.S. Soccer Foundation is working to harness the connective power of soccer to spark social change in under-resourced communities nationwide.The Foundation, the major charitable arm of soccer in the United States and a grantee of the Social Innovation Fund, today released the results of the Soccer for Success:Implementation and Impact Evaluation,”which highlightsthe positive health impact of the Foundation’s Soccer for Success program. In addition, the Foundation today awarded 12 grants totaling over $450,000in nine states nationwide to enhance soccer-based youth development programs and build more safe places to play. 

Soccer for Success is theU.S. Soccer Foundation’s free afterschool program that uses soccer as a tool to address children’s health issues and juvenile delinquency, while promoting healthy lifestyles in underserved urban communities.As of spring 2015, the U.S. Soccer Foundation offers Soccer for Success programs in over 30 cities across the United States, providing tens of thousands of children with free afterschool programming 3 times a week for 24 weeks of the academic year. 

This is an exciting time for the U.S. Soccer Foundation as we release an impact study with such remarkable results, and continue supporting critical initiatives that address the public health issue of childhood obesity which is especially common in underserved communities,” said Ed Foster-Simeon, President & CEO of the U.S. Soccer Foundation. “The study aligns with our mission and what we strive to accomplish as an organization that focuses on utilizing soccer as a vehicle for social change. We look forward to expanding our Soccer for Success program to additional cities across the U.S. and providing youth in urban, underserved communities the means for physical activity and nutrition education.” 

Social Innovation Fund LogoIn 2011, the Foundation was awarded a prestigious Social Innovation Fund grant from the Corporation for National and Community Service to expand its Soccer for Success program, as well as evaluate its impact on participants. This support helps the U.S. Soccer Foundation pursue its goal to utilize the sport of soccer as vehicle for social change, and improve the lives of children in underserved communities nationwide. 

“Through our highly-competitive grant competitions, the Social Innovation Fund selects organizations who are committed to growing innovative, evidence-based solutions, all while sharing what they have learned along the way,” said Lois Nembhard, Acting Director of the Social Innovation Fund. “With this impact study, the U.S. Soccer Foundation has identified an innovative solution of using soccer to address a growing public health issue among youth and provides the evidence and impact behind its success.” 

Conducted by Dr. Danielle Hollar and her team at Healthy Networks Design & Research, the study measured and compared children enrolled in Soccer for Success with children enrolled in afterschool programs other than Soccer for Success at the same schools or in the same neighborhoods. The evaluation spanned across five representative U.S. citiesBuffalo, NY; Denver, CO; Detroit, MI; Los Angeles, CA; and Seattle, WA. Results revealed that Soccer for Success participants showed a statistically significantly greater improvement in all health outcomes, as compared to participants who were not enrolled in the Soccer for Success program.Children who participated in the Soccer for Success program experienced a greater improvement in health with respect to BMI percentile, waist circumference, and PACER test as compared to similar children in other afterschool programs in the same neighborhoods. In fact, children that participated in Soccer for Success saw their BMI decrease by three percentage points and their PACER tests increase by 24%. 

The study concludes that the positive health impact of Soccer for Success calls for the implementation and expansion of efficient, coordinated afterschool efforts, such as this program, and other youth sports programs that include physical activity and nutrition education to help combat childhood obesity.

Additional highlights from “Soccer for Success:Implementation and Impact Evaluation” include:

  • The BMI categories of Soccer for Success participants improved in a statistically significant manner; whereas the participants enrolled in other afterschool programs did not change significantly.

  • The BMI percentiles of Soccer for Success participants decreased significantly more than those participants not enrolled in the Soccer for Success program, but rather other afterschool programs.

  • The waist circumference of Soccer for Success participants decreased, while the waist circumference of participants not involved with the Soccer for Success program increased.

  • Completed PACER test laps for Soccer for Success participants increased dramatically, while the number of completed laps for participants in other afterschool activities decreased slightly. 

To learn more about the U.S. Soccer Foundation and its Soccer for Success program, please visit www.ussoccerfoundation.org.

About theSoccer for Success Impact Study
This report is based upon work supported by the Social Innovation Fund (SIF), a program of the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS). The Social Innovation Fund combines public and private resources to grow the impact of innovative, community-based solutions that have compelling evidence of improving the lives of people in low-income communities throughout the United States. 

During the 2013-2014 Soccer for Success program year, the U.S. Soccer Foundation contracted Dr. Danielle Hollar and her team at Healthy Networks Design & Research, to evaluate the health impact of the Soccer for Success program. The study compared children enrolled in Soccer for Success (intervention group) with children enrolled in other afterschool programs at the same schools, or in the same neighborhood (control group). Study results are scientifically valid considering: 1) the appropriate size of the data set used in this study, and 2) the strength of the comparison between intervention and control group children based on key demographics (age, gender, race/ ethnicity, baseline obesity rates).


About the U.S. Soccer Foundation 
TheU.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 the Social Innovation Fund
The Social Innovation Fund (SIF) combines public and private resources to grow the impact of innovative, community-based solutions that have compelling evidence of improving the lives of people in low-income communities throughout the United States. The SIF invests in three priority areas: economic opportunity, healthy futures, and youth development. To learn more, visit nationalservice.gov/SIF.


About Healthy Networks Design & Research
Healthy Networks Design & Research, Inc. assistsorganizations with health-related project development, implementation, evaluation, and research functions to improve the health of communities they serve. Activities led by HNDR have been funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Walmart Foundation, NRPA, and The World Bank. For more information, please visit www.healthynetworksdesignandresearch.org.


Media Contacts:

Krista Washington
U.S. Soccer Foundation

Eleanor Arlook
Maroon PR


Join the U.S. Soccer Foundation in the movement to improve lives through soccer.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.


  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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 SportsMatter.org.

  • 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 Kwikgoal.com.



    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 https://ussoccerfoundation.org/grants/ 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 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.




  • 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 https://www.worldwidetgi.com or contact Mike Squire at msquire@worldwidetgi.com / 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 www.worldsoccershop.com.


Tweet or post on Facebook and show the world
that you believe in the power of soccer.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter