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The U.S. Soccer Foundation and Johnson & Johnson Make Significant Investment to Increase Female Participation in Soccer in Underserved Communities

Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Soccer Foundation and Johnson & Johnson today announced a new funding opportunity for organizations working to address the lack of representation of young women in soccer in underserved communities. The two organizations will provide grants to programs that expand opportunities for girls in historically excluded communities and utilize impactful strategies to increase female participation in the sport.

According to the Women’s Sports Foundation, by the age of 14, girls are dropping out of sports at twice the rate of boys. One contributing factor to this attrition is the lack of program design specifically for young women in the game, which can lead to gaps in mentorship opportunities and peer support.

“Girls are less likely to participate in sports than boys and, as a result, are less likely to reap the many benefits that come with playing soccer and that help them reach their potential both on and off the field,” said Sarah Pickens, Associate Vice President of Programs at the U.S. Soccer Foundation. “We’re working to change that by helping organizations remove barriers and behaviors that have excluded girls in the past—especially girls living in underserved communities.”

The grant opportunity seeks to identify dynamic programs focused on improving recruitment and retention, creating an inclusive environment, and building on the benefits of soccer programming, such as increased confidence, leadership skills, and self-esteem. The grant was made possible by support from Johnson & Johnson.

“We are proud to partner with the U.S. Soccer Foundation in its work to provide greater access to girls’ youth soccer programming,” said Heather Horner, Marketing Manager at Johnson & Johnson. “Sports have the power to teach young women valuable skills that can help them throughout their lives, both on and off the field. Together, Johnson & Johnson and the U.S. Soccer Foundation are dedicated to supporting the next generation of female leaders to reach their full potential.”

Organizations awarded three-year grants will submit impact reports and contribute learnings and promising practices. At the end of the three-year grants, the U.S. Soccer Foundation and grantees will present best practices that can be adopted by other organizations in the sports-based youth development field.

Competitive proposals will include a dynamic program focused on addressing attrition rates and overall participation of girls in soccer, in addition to creating an inclusive environment helping young women become leaders.

Proposals will be accepted through April 2, 2019. For more information and to apply, visit

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 or follow us on Twitter at @ussoccerfndn and Facebook at

Jennifer Arnold