The U.S. Soccer Foundation announced a new commitment to increasing access to safe places to play at the Clinton Global Initiative’s Annual Meeting in New York City today. Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) convenes global leaders to implement solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges.
In its Commitment to Action, the U.S. Soccer Foundation committed to doubling the number of mini-pitches installed in underserved communities across the United States by 2026—amounting to 1,000+ underserved neighborhoods having safe places to play.
“Too often, children in underserved communities don’t have easy access to safe places to play,” said Ed Foster-Simeon, President & CEO of the U.S. Soccer Foundation. “At the U.S. Soccer Foundation, we are committed to increasing access and opportunity to safe play spaces through the creation of mini-pitches right in the neighborhoods where kids live and go to school. We’re looking forward to partnering with others to make this a reality in hundreds of communities across the country. We know that the CGI community will help us get there.”
The commitment is tied to the 2026 World Cup coming to North America—a once in a generation opportunity to grow the game of soccer across the United States and use soccer as a vehicle for strengthening communities and transforming the lives of youth from under-resourced communities.
The Foundation’s commitment seeks to address inequities children growing up in underserved communities face—including lack of safe places to play, sport and health programs, and positive mentors. According to the 2021 Sate of Obesity Report, Black and Latinx youth have disproportionately higher rates of obesity than their Asian and white peers. These disparities can be partially attributed to less opportunity for physical activity and activity spaces.
Children in neighborhoods without safe places to play have a 20-45% greater risk of becoming overweight, and such play spaces are more likely to be unavailable in communities of color as compared with predominantly white neighborhoods. Seventy percent of predominantly Black and Hispanic neighborhoods lack any type of recreational facilities as compared to 38% of predominantly white neighborhoods. Further, 77% of kids living in households that earn less than $25,000 do not participate in sports. Only 35% of Black and 34% of Hispanic kids play sports on a regular basis.
This new Commitment to Action is built on the U.S. Soccer Foundation’s long track record of impact. The Foundation has already created impact in more than 500 underserved neighborhoods across the U.S. In fact, the Foundation’s community impact reports indicate that 98% say that people in their community are more active and the community feels safer after installation of a mini-pitch. In addition, 93% say that the mini-pitches serves as a community hub.
As a member of the CGI community, the U.S. Soccer Foundation joins a community of corporations, philanthropists, and other leaders in implementing solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. At the annual meeting—the first since 2016—more than 1,000 attendees convened to drive action on climate change, inclusive economic growth, health equity, the refugee crisis, and more.
To read the Foundation’s Commitment, visit https://www.clintonfoundation.org/commitment/clinton-global-initiative/creating-safe-places-to-play-in-underserved-communities/.
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 www.ussoccerfoundation.org or follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
ABOUT THE CLINTON GLOBAL INITIATIVE (CGI)
The Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) convenes global and emerging leaders to create and implement solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. CGI works with partners to drive action through its unique model. Rather than directly implementing projects, CGI facilitates action by helping members connect, collaborate, and develop Commitments to Action — new, specific, and measurable plans that address global challenges. Through CGI, the community has made more than 3,700 Commitments to Action that have made a difference in the lives of more than 435 million people in more than 180 countries.
Jennifer Arnold, U.S. Soccer Foundation