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U.S. Soccer Foundation Awards Grants to Organizations Working to Combat Decline in Teen Sport Participation and Expand Access to Safe Playing Spaces

Washington, D.C. — The U.S. Soccer Foundation today announced it has awarded grants to four organizations that are working to address the alarming drop-off rate in teenage participation in sports. The grants will enable organizations to engage nearly 6,000 teenagers in current and new soccer programs. The U.S. Soccer Foundation also awarded grants to 10 organizations to build and enhance safe playing spaces. The field-building grants will allow access to safe playing spaces for 70,323 youth and adults.

“The U.S. Soccer Foundation is proud to support these grant recipients in their efforts to create innovative approaches for engaging—and keeping—our youth in soccer programs,” said Ed Foster-Simeon, President & CEO of the U.S. Soccer Foundation. “These organizations are helping more of our nation’s youth reap the many benefits of our game by making the sport accessible and enjoyable.”

To combat the decline in teenage participation in sports, the U.S. Soccer Foundation awarded Program Grants to organizations that are using innovative techniques to engage teenagers in sustainable programming that utilizes soccer to develop life skills.

According to the Aspen Institute, in 2008, 45 percent of children ages 6-12 played a team sport regularly. As of 2017, only 37 percent were participating in team sports. Furthermore, a poll from the National Alliance for Youth Sports found that 70 percent of youth dropped out of an organized sport by age 13 because it ‘wasn’t fun anymore.’

This is significant because participation in sports provides numerous health benefits for teenagers including, but not limited to, improved academic performance, improved weight control, and decreased risk of heart disease and diabetes. The Program Grants will help organizations cover soccer equipment and/or operating expenses.

Twelve awards were also distributed this grant cycle to 10 organizations as a part of the Safe Places to Play program, which transforms underutilized spaces into soccer fields where there is often a lack of safe play spaces. These grants will help cover the costs of irrigation, lighting, and surfacing enhancements.

Spring 2018 Program Grant Recipients

  • Beyond Soccer – Lawrence, MA
  • El Centro Amistad – Boulder, CO
  • KIPP New Orleans – New Orleans, LA
  • Soccer Without Borders – Cambridge, MA

Spring 2018 Safe Places to Play Grant Recipients

  • Beadling Soccer Club – Bridgeville, PA
  • Colorado Springs Youth Sports Complex – Manitou Springs, CO
  • Fredericksburg Football Club – Fredericksburg, VA
  • Future Soccer Stars Foundation* – Wilmington, DE
  • Neighborhood Ministries* – Phoenix, AZ
  • Rooftop School – San Francisco, CA
  • Special Olympics Missouri – Jefferson City, MO
  • Springville Youth Soccer Association – Springville, AL
  • Texas Trees Foundation – Dallas, TX
  • Village of Sauk City – Sauk City, WI

*Received multiple grants

These grants support It’s Everyone’s Game, the Foundation’s campaign to inspire and empower the nation to drive the change that ensures children in underserved communities enjoy the health and youth development benefits of the game. Non-profit organizations eligible to receive grant funding include those that provide children with the opportunity to play soccer and programming that promotes healthy youth development.

Support for the U.S. Soccer Foundation’s grant process is provided by the Foundation’s corporate partners, including AstroTurf, Brock, Hunter Industries, Musco Lighting, and Sport Court.

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