Washington, D.C. – In advance of the upcoming FIFA Women’s World Cup, the U.S. Soccer Foundation and Johnson & Johnson today awarded grants to five organizations that will increase opportunities for girls to participate in soccer in communities that have historically been excluded from such opportunities. Through these grants, the awarded organizations have the ability to nearly triple the number of participants collectively impacted over the three-year grant period. Grantees will also work with the Foundation and UpMetrics to develop a report that highlights best practices for increasing female participation in soccer.

According to the Women’s Sports Foundation, girls have 1.3 million fewer opportunities to play sports than their male counterparts. The Women’s Sports Foundation also cites decreased quality of experience – such as lack of quality facilities, trained coaches, and basics such as equipment and uniforms – as a reason why girls may drop out of sports as they grow up.

“Soccer is a powerful tool, not only to get young people active, but to teach important life skills that help them succeed on and off the pitch,” said Sarah Pickens, Associate Vice President of Programs at the U.S. Soccer Foundation. “We’re excited that, in working with these grant recipients to address barriers that have excluded girls from the game in the past, we can make sure that more young females are encouraged to play soccer and can reap all the benefits the sport has to offer.”

Johnson & Johnson’s support of this grant program is part of its Because She Can campaign, which is empowering young girls across the country. Through these grants, awardees will work to combat common obstacles to girls’ access to the game, including economic barriers, lack of gender-inclusive environments, and unequal distribution of resources amongst communities of varied racial and ethnic backgrounds.

“Johnson & Johnson is focused on providing girls with opportunities to grow into strong leaders on and off the pitch,” said Heather Horner, Marketing Manager at Johnson & Johnson. “As part of our Because She Can campaign to empower young women, we’re proud to partner with the U.S. Soccer Foundation to offer assistance to amazing organizations working to develop girls into leaders of the future through soccer.”

In December 2017, the Foundation launched It’s Everyone’s Game, a movement to ensure that children living in underserved communities enjoy the health and youth development benefits of the game. The Foundation also announced its goals to engage one million children in Soccer for Success, the Foundation’s evidence-based after-school program, and build 1,000 safe places to play by 2026. These grants represent one of the many ways that the U.S. Soccer Foundation and its partners are working to make soccer everyone’s game.



Adelante Mujeres provides holistic education and empowerment opportunities to Latina women and their families. The Chicas Soccer Academy was specifically designed to address the academic and social-emotional needs of Latina youth in grades 3-12 by using soccer as a tool to facilitate mentorship and leadership development. As many Latina girls in this area are excluded from quality soccer programming, the Academy has operated at no cost to its participants since its inception eight years ago.

Currently, Adelante Mujeres is developing a manual outlining their best practices to engage Latina girls through youth development work, and a large component of that document will highlight the effectiveness of the Chicas Soccer Academy. Their grant funding will ensure continued program quality through the retention of trained staff and coaches who have built essential relationships with participants and their families.


The Bay Area Women’s Sports Initiative (BAWSI) operates in eight schools in the Bay Area where socio-economic barriers preventing girls from participating in sports are greatest. In this girls-only afterschool program, girls in grades 2-5 participate in one session per week for 16 weeks, where they rotate through various physical activities to build coordination, improve fitness, and have fun. Their evidence-based ACCESS model for youth development encourages Activity, Connection, Contribution, Expectations, Skills for Life, and a Sense of Belonging, and has demonstrably shown to improve girls’ likelihood of participating in physical activity, wanting to join a sports team, and wanting to be a leader. Funding from this grant will allow BAWSI to expand soccer programming an additional two days per week at all eight sites, where interest in increased soccer offerings has already been expressed.


San Mateo County Sheriff’s Activity League (SAL) was developed out of the need to create a safe environment for young people to learn life skills, build positive social networks, improve mental and emotional health, and develop self-determination within predominately Latino communities in San Mateo County. SAL is entering its third year of girls-specific soccer programming, which implements mentorship and leadership models that are reinforced by data-informed outreach and wraparound services. By removing financial barriers to participate and recruiting female coaches reflective of the population served, San Mateo SAL has doubled participation in girl-specific soccer programming each year since its inception. Funding for San Mateo SAL will continue to support the growth of the player-to-coach pipeline mentorship program by recruiting and retaining female coaches who mentor the younger teams.


South Bronx United (SBU) first started implementing girl-specific programming eight years ago, which includes both competitive and recreational soccer divisions for ages 6-18 during fall and spring seasons, as well as day camps in the summer months.

The current focus of the SBU girls soccer program is to reach African-American and African immigrant communities in the Bronx. Led by multi-disciplinary program staff on the field and in school, girls participate in female-centric discussion groups, outreach, and community events. They also fill leadership roles within their team, school, and community. With this funding, South Bronx United will build out their efforts in three areas: recruitment efforts for more diverse female participants of all ages, the development of a soccer culture for girls in the Bronx, and the addition of an afterschool site for elementary-aged girls.


The Starfinder Foundation uses soccer to inspire social change and transform girls’ lives, one-third of whom are immigrants from communities with limited access to safe places or quality youth development programs. The organization’s year-round programming takes place afterschool and on weekends, ensuring that the young women have ample opportunities to play. Female coach-mentors support girls through social-emotional learning, leadership sessions, life skills workshops, and Youth Council meetings that shape participants’ ability to coach as they get older.

In response to their participants’ unique needs, Starfinder uses a strengths-based, positive youth development framework paired with trauma-sensitive practices that reward and reinforce positive behaviors. Grant funding will go towards building upon Starfinder’s successful high school program, expanding their reach to middle school girls, and building out their tiered-mentorship model.

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 https://ussoccerfoundation.org/ or follow us on Twitter  and Facebook.

Jennifer Arnold


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

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  • 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.

  • 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 www.sportsbyapt.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.

  • 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 www.jnj.com.

  • 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.


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