Washington, D.C. – The First Lady, Michelle Obama, joined the U.S. Soccer Foundation at its free youth soccer clinic in Washington, D.C. to highlight the Soccer Foundation’s commitment to the national fight against childhood obesity and support for the First Lady’s Let’s Move! campaign that emphasizes the importance of children getting 60 minutes of active play each day.
The First Lady joined 60 children from programs supported by the Foundation in the nation’s capital in plyometric exercises, “sharks and minnows” and other soccer games, showcasing soccer as a fun way to engage kids in vigorous physical activity.
She spoke briefly to the young athletes, highlighting the importance of combining proper nutrition – both at school and at home – with regular exercise. (ABC NEWS)
“You know, you’ve got to move,” she told the players. “You’ve got to exercise … and soccer is one of my favorite ways of doing it.” (ABC NEWS)
The First Lady continued, “It gets you running, it gets your heart beating, it gives you good foot movement…soccer is one of those sports that teaches you all the fundamentals that will help you with every other sport you are interested in.”
During the event, the U.S. Soccer Foundation announced a new and ambitious partnership with the National Alliance for Hispanic Health that brings together the U.S. Soccer Foundation’s Passback Tour and the Alliance’s ¡Vive tu Vida! Get Up! Get Moving!™ the nation’s largest Hispanic family health lifestyle event series with over 15,000 participants annually.
The combined tour will provide children and their families in 25 U.S. cities with free health screenings and soccer clinics that emphasize the importance of physical activity, proper diet and healthy lifestyles and connect families with local soccer programs that will help children achieve the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity each day.
All of the groups coming together to support the tour — the U.S. Soccer Foundation, the National Alliance for Hispanic Health, Major League Soccer, Women’s Professional Soccer, adidas, Eurosport, Univision and the popular children’s television show LazyTown – recognize soccer as a powerful tool that should be leveraged to maximum effect in support of the First Lady’s Let’s Move campaign against childhood obesity.
Each organization has engaged the issue separately, but by working together can have a greater impact on improving child health and well-being — particularly in communities where children experience the highest rates of childhood obesity. Soccer provides equal opportunity for girls and boys to engage in healthful physical activity and provides a natural bridge to emerging immigrant groups, connecting families to important information on diet, nutrition and ongoing soccer programs that will help them lead active, healthy lifestyles.
“The U.S. Soccer Foundation, the National Alliance for Hispanic Health, Major League Soccer, Women’s Professional Soccer, adidas, Eurosport, Univision, and LazyTown entertainment all recognize the unique power of soccer as a tool in the national fight against childhood obesity, and are excited about collaborating with First Lady, Michelle Obama, on her Let’s Move! initiative. By harnessing our collective and complementary strengths we will help her achieve the goal of bringing an end to childhood obesity in a generation,” said Ed Foster-Simeon, President and CEO of the U.S. Soccer Foundation.
“We are honored that the First Lady has joined us for the launch of this unique partnership between the Passback program and ¡Vive tu Vida! Get Up! Get Moving! Last year over 400 local partners joined ¡Vive tu Vida! Get Up! Get Moving!™ to deliver fun and exciting ways for people of all ages and all sizes to make movement a daily part of their lives. We are committed to bringing the First Lady’s Let’s Move! effort to all communities to help raise a healthier generation of kids,” said Dr. Jane L. Delgado, President and CEO of the National Alliance for Hispanic Health.
The soccer clinic, sponsored by adidas, took place at City Center in downtown Washington, DC under the same tent where the U.S. Soccer Foundation held the Leveling the Playing Field gala at which Archbishop Desmond Tutu spoke about the power of soccer as a vehicle for youth development and social change.
The First Lady was joined by a large group of notable guests supporting the effort: Dr. Jane Delgado (President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Alliance for Hispanic Health & Board Member, U.S. Soccer Foundation), Don Garber (Commissioner, Major League Soccer & Board Member, U.S. Soccer Foundation), Sunil Gulati (President, US Soccer & Board Member, U.S. Soccer Foundation), Kevin Payne (President and CEO, D.C. United & Board Member, U.S. Soccer Foundation), Mark Washo (President & GM, Washington Freedom), Professional Players: D.C. United midfielder Christian Castillo, D.C. United forward Jaime Moreno, Eddie Pope, Claudio Reyna, Briana Scurry, D.C. United’s Talon (Mascot), Washington Freedom’s Glory (Mascot), and Sportacus (LazyTown Mascot).
Joint Passback and !Vive tu Vida! Get Up! Get Moving!™ Tour Details
This 25 city national tour includes: Albuquerque, NM; Atlanta, GA; Boston, MA; Brownsville, TX; Chicago, IL; Columbus, OH; Dallas, TX: Denver, CO; Detroit, MI; Houston, TX; Kansas City, MO, Los Angeles, CA; Las Vegas, NV: Miami, FL; Newark, NJ; New York, NY; Philadelphia, PA: Phoenix, AZ; Salt Lake City, UT; San Antonio, TX; San Diego, CA; San Francisco/Oakland, CA; San Jose, CA; Seattle, WA; and, Washington, DC.
- Provides free family-focused health screenings testing for Cholesterol, Blood Pressure, Diabetes and Dental for children and adults with referrals to community clinics and health providers if abnormal readings are found.
- Introduces children to soccer as a fun, physical activity with positive health benefits as well as other ways to make physical activity a part of daily family life.
- Provides information on the importance of proper nutrition and healthy lifestyles.
- Connects participants to the Urban Soccer Collaborative and other ongoing soccer programs as well as to other community resources for physical activity and health.
- Provides resources to help establish new programs.