Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Soccer Foundation presented three awards at its 13th annual Urban Soccer Symposium, honoring organizations and individuals who have provided innovative approaches to improving the sports-based youth development field. In its third year, the 2019 Urban Soccer Symposium Awards were presented in three categories: influence, innovation, and impact.
“It is with great pleasure that we present the third annual Urban Soccer Symposium Awards to We Can Kick It, Segundo Barrio FC, and Mayor Rahm Emanuel,” said Ed Foster-Simeon, President & CEO of the U.S. Soccer Foundation. “It is because of the innovations of organizations and individuals like these that we continue to grow as a community and, in turn, are able to positively impact more and more young lives through sport.”
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel received the 2019 Influence Award, which was awarded to an individual holding public office who has leveraged his or her position to support, advocate for, and champion sports-based youth development efforts in underserved communities. Mayor Emanuel was recognized for his role in bringing to life the Chicago Soccer Initiative – a local collaboration with Chicago Fire Soccer Club, Chicago Park District, and Citadel’s Ken Griffin – which will see the creation of 50 mini-pitches in underserved neighborhoods throughout the city over five years and aims to expand sports-based youth development programming for local youth. The initiative was launched in conjunction with the U.S. Soccer Foundation’s It’s Everyone’s Game campaign in December 2017.
We Can Kick It received the 2019 Innovation Award for using soccer as a tool to inspire and empower children and their families affected by cancer. As a survivor of brain cancer himself, founder and youth coach, Adrian Conoboy, understands the impact cancer has on one’s life. It was through soccer that he found the determination and drive to fight his battle. We Can Kick It offers free soccer programs to youth ages 6 to 18 who are affected by cancer. The program also serves the siblings and young family members of youth with cancer, offering a safe space for them to find new ways to connect and encourage one another. We Can Kick It uniquely tailors its programming to address the special needs of young people fighting cancer.
Segundo Barrio FC received the Impact Award for its work using soccer as a tool for social change by developing programs that foster the physical, mental, and emotional growth of youth in the El Paso, Texas neighborhood, Segundo Barrio. Founded in 2011, Segundo Barrio FC is a volunteer-run organization and started with just one team. Today, the organization serves 150 young people in three main programs: a competitive travel team that competes year-round in leagues and tournament; an afterschool soccer and reading club; and a college preparatory program, which supports high school players academically and provides pathways to higher education. Responding to the unique realities youth face living on the border between the United States and Mexico, Segundo Barrio identifies best practices and adapts them to their environment to ensure a lasting impact on both their youth and their community.
The awards were presented during the U.S. Soccer Foundation’s 2019 Urban Soccer Symposium, the nation’s premier event where executive directors, mentors, and program administrators learn and exchange best practices in sports-based youth development to bolster impact in underserved communities.
Award nominees were identified through a nomination process. In total, 18 nominations were submitted for the Innovation, Impact, and Influence Awards. The 2019 Urban Soccer Symposium Committee, comprised of leaders in the sports-based youth development movement, voted on the Innovation and Impact categories. Members of the Foundation team assisted the committee in identifying the winner of the Influence Award.
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 at @ussoccerfndn and Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ussoccerfoundation.