Our President & CEO sat down with Andscape’s William Rhoden to talk about the increasing diversity in our game at all levels.
Here’s an excerpt from the piece:
Ed Foster-Simeon, president and CEO of the U.S. Soccer Foundation, said the sport must also continue to proactively bring the game to underserved communities. Foster-Simeon said the foundation has been responsible for building mini-pitches around the country. “They’re like the size of a tennis court,” he said. “We’re putting those right in school yards. We did 50 in New York City with New York FC. And so to date, we’ve done over 600 of those around the country with a goal of installing a thousand by 2026.”
Like Winley, Foster-Simeon grew up in New York. Also like Winley, soccer never became part of his sports diet.
“I went with my friends to a basketball court, and we played all day on a Saturday,” he said. “We’d be out there all day. Nobody ever introduced me to soccer and that’s still the case today in many, many communities. Soccer, particularly for African American athletes, it’s not even presented as something to consider.
“So in a nutshell, it’s really bringing the game to where those kids are and providing them access, easy and affordable access. Three times as many kids play basketball for free as any other sport. And you know why? Because there’s basketball courts everywhere that they can play.”