FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Dave Tyahla, U.S. Soccer Foundation, 202.872.6653
WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Soccer Foundation, the Major Charitable Arm of Soccer in the U.S., today announced a three-year “Impact Grant” to the Illinois Youth Soccer Association (IYSA). The Foundation’s support will enable IYSA to expand its inner city programming in Chicago and more than double the number of children it serves.
The Foundation, in partnership with the U.S. Soccer Federation, has identified five major cities in which it will award special “Impact Grants” to increase soccer playing opportunities for economically disadvantaged children in urban communities. Those cities are Washington, D.C.; Chicago; New York City; Los Angeles; and, Houston. Grants will be multi-year awards made on a city-by-city basis to existing programs and organizations providing soccer opportunities for disadvantaged youth, with a goal of significantly increasing the reach and impact of those programs.
Illinois Youth Soccer is the second Grantee in this series of “Impact Grants.” IYSA’s Inner City Program brings soccer to economically disadvantaged children living in Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) developments through programs for the Chicago Public Schools, Chicago Park District, and various community youth centers. They currently operate in a dozen locations across Chicago, providing hundreds of young people with opportunities to play and enjoy soccer while also keeping them off the street and away from drugs and other risky behaviors.
By leveraging resources with the CHA, Chicago Public Schools, City of Chicago, Chicago Park District and local Easter Seals, YMCAs and other faith-based organizations, IYSA has been able to make this a successful ongoing partnership and provide underserved children with an opportunity to participate in a team sport that does not discriminate against gender or race, at a supervised safe location, while earning self-esteem, staying away from gangs and drugs, and learning the values of hard work, fair-play, teamwork, and commitment.
With the Foundation’s support, IYSA intends to expand into at least eight additional Chicago locations and increase the total number of days and weeks the program is offered each year. Over the next three years, the program will grow to provide over 1,000 young people the opportunity to engage in organized soccer with the necessary equipment, nutritional meals and snacks, and transportation to safe locations all offered at no cost to each participant.
Included in this three-year award, the U.S. Soccer Foundation is providing a matching grant which will serve as a catalyst for IYSA and the City of Chicago to partner and install a state-of-the-art, synthetic grass field, ensuring that this program’s legacy lasts long after the Foundation’s support has ended.
“The expansion of Illinois Youth Soccer’s Inner City Program will create new opportunities for young boys and girls in Chicago to play and enjoy the game of soccer,” said Ed Foster-Simeon, President of the U.S. Soccer Foundation. “As the Major Charitable Arm of Soccer in the U.S., the Foundation is delighted to recognize IYSA’s commitment to serving at-risk youth in their local community and support the growth of the game through innovative partnerships like this one.”
“Illinois Youth Soccer is excited for the opportunity to bring safe, organized soccer programming to more underserved communities in Chicago,” said Gus Bender, President of the Illinois Youth Soccer Association. “The support from the U.S. Soccer Foundation allows the program to expand its focus, leverage additional resources and create opportunities for more young people to play soccer throughout Chicago.”
About the U.S. Soccer Foundation
The U.S. Soccer Foundation was established in 1994 to manage the surplus funds generated by the 1994 FIFA World Cup held in the United States. As the Major Charitable Arm of Soccer in the U.S., the Foundation has invested more than $48 million in the game, supporting hundreds of projects in every state in the country. The Foundation provides grants focused on developing players, coaches and referees and building or enhancing fields and soccer complexes, with a special emphasis on economically disadvantaged youth in urban communities. For more information, or to donate online, please visit ussoccerfoundation.org.
About Illinois Youth Soccer Association (IYSA)
The Illinois Youth Soccer Association was established in 1975 and is an official State Association and charter member of the US Soccer Federation and US Youth Soccer. As such, the IYSA is the administrative body within Illinois authorized to carry out their programs for amateur players. Illinois Youth Soccer started its Inner City Program initiative during the 1994 World Cup and has invested over $1 million dollars to provide soccer programs to economically disadvantaged youngsters living in Chicago’s inner city communities. For more information, please visit illinoisyouthsoccer.org.
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