HOUSTON 2026 WORLD CUP BID COMMITTEE AND U.S. SOCCER FOUNDATION ANNOUNCE $6 MILLION CAMPAIGN TO SUPPORT ITS GROW THE GAME INITIATIVE

Initiative Aims to Create 30 Mini-Pitches and Expand Soccer Participation in Underserved Communities Across the Region by 2026

Houston, TX (September 23, 2021) – Today, the Houston 2026 World Cup Bid Committee and the U.S. Soccer Foundation announced a $6 million campaign to support Houston 2026’s Grow the Game initiative aimed at providing underserved communities access to the world’s most popular sport.

Joined by Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and local and national partners, the committee laid out plans to raise funding for and create 30 new mini-pitches across the greater Houston area and dramatically increase participation in high-quality soccer programs by 2026. To do this, the committee is partnering with the U.S. Soccer Foundation, a national nonprofit organization with a mission to provide underserved communities access to innovative play spaces and evidence-based soccer programs that instill hope, foster well-being, and help youth achieve their fullest potential.

“As part of our 2026 FIFA World Cup Bid, we are focused on creating a legacy. We want to make a lasting impact long after the matches are over,” said Chris Canetti, President, Houston 2026 World Cup Bid Committee. “As part of that legacy, we are motivated to help grow the game while positively impacting the lives of local youth. This collaboration with our community and the U.S. Soccer Foundation is a strong example of these things. We look forward to delivering an impact well into the future.”

“Soccer is a dynamic, fast-paced sport with a global audience, and it makes sense to increase access for young people in the nation’s fourth-largest and most diverse city. The program will provide young people in underserved communities with innovative spaces to play, boost their confidence and promote a healthy lifestyle. It also aligns with my Complete Communities initiative to ensure that all Houstonians have equal access to quality services and amenities. It is a win-win for everyone,” said Mayor Turner.

In addition to the creation of 30 mini-pitches, the $6 million campaign aims to fund the expansion of the Foundation’s Soccer for Success program to serve at least 15,000 local youth and train 1,000 adults as coach-mentors to run the program. Soccer for Success has been recognized nationally for its ability to improve the health and social outcomes of its participants. Houston Parks & Recreation has been running the Foundation’s Soccer for Success program since its inception.

“We’re excited to continue to expand our work in the Houston area to make soccer more equitable and accessible to all,” said Ed Foster-Simeon, President & CEO of the U.S. Soccer Foundation. “Through the creation of mini-pitches and the expansion of free soccer programs, more children from underserved communities can benefit from all our game has to offer and connect with trained and caring coach-mentors who can change the trajectory of their lives.”

More than $1.5 million has already been raised toward this campaign thanks to funding pledged by new Houston Dynamo FC owner Ted Segal, along with Houston Dynamo minority FC owner Ben Guill and former Dynamo and Dash minority owner Jake Silverstein. Guill and Silverstein are working with former United States and Houston Dynamo star and Houston 2026 board member DaMarcus Beasley and the U.S. Soccer Foundation on the creation of 15 mini-pitches by 2024, six of which have already been installed across the region. In August, Segal pledged $100,000 to the Grow the Game initiative and officially joined the Bid Committee.

“When I assumed stewardship of the Dynamo and the Dash, I made the point that Houston is a world-class city and that our club has an important role in contributing to the city’s success,” Segal said. “The commitment made by Ben, Jake and DaMarcus sets a tremendous example and will have a lasting impact on the city, and I’m honored to help the World Cup Bid Committee build on that foundation to grow the game throughout the Houston community.”

At a press event to announce this campaign, speakers encouraged other local corporations and individuals to join this effort.

This effort in Houston is part of the U.S. Soccer Foundation’s national It’s Everyone’s Game movement to make soccer more equitable and inclusive by increasing access to the sport and its benefits in underserved communities nationwide. The Foundation is on track to install 1,000 mini-pitches and engage 1 million youth in high-quality soccer programs by 2026.

ABOUT HOUSTON 2026 WORLD CUP BID COMMITTEE
The Houston 2026 World Cup Bid Committee is leading the South Texas region’s efforts to host the FIFA World Cup 2026™. It is a subsidiary of the Harris County – Houston Sports Authority. The FIFA World Cup 2026™ will be played in 16 cities across the United States, Mexico and Canada. Houston is among 17 cities vying to become a U.S. host city. A final decision is expected in the first half of 2022.

ABOUT 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 ussoccerfoundation.org or follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

MEDIA CONTACTS:
Jennifer Arnold, U.S. Soccer Foundation
jarnold@ussoccerfoundation.org; 202-872-6662

Lala Ismailova, JTA Pacific (Houston 2026)
lala@jtapacific.sport; +1-323-246-1110

 

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OUR PARTNERS

adidas

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

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

MLS WORKS

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

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

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

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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