On what the Most Diverse USWNT Means for the Future
Tonight, thousands of people across the U.S. and globe will tune in to see the U.S. Women’s National Team take on Vietnam as they try to secure their third straight FIFA Women’s World Cup title. This USWNT squad is the most diverse in the program’s history—featuring seven Black players and two Mexican Americans—and is quite a change from the teams in the 90s where Briana Scurry was often the only woman of color to start.
The diversity of this team is great news for our sport – but as our President & CEO recently talked about with Reuters – it’s even better news for young girls and boys of color who now have more role models who look like them. For years, our U.S. Soccer Foundation team has been working diligently to make soccer more accessible – particularly for children of color and those from low-income families.
Here’s an excerpt:
A U.S. Soccer Foundation survey in 2008 found that even as the game experienced tremendous national growth at the youth level, large swathes of the country were being left behind.
“We developed a strategy and a business plan that focused and made a priority of increasing access and opportunity for underrepresented populations, particularly children in underserved, underrepresented communities,” U.S. Soccer Foundation CEO Ed Foster-Simeon said in an interview.
The foundation has provided more than half a million children from “under-resourced” communities with free programs, building more than 600 “mini-pitches” designed for the youth game across the country.
While minority participation has improved “quite a bit,” Foster-Simeon said, “it’s nowhere near where we want it to be.”