children in underserved communities
NEW YORK (July 27, 2015) – In celebration of Major League Soccer’s 20th season, MLS WORKS, adidas, the U.S. Soccer Foundation, and Southern New Hampshire University announced a partnership to build 20 mini-pitches in underserved communities in coordination with each of the 20 MLS clubs. Through this initiative, each organization seeks to bring the game of soccer to children who wouldn’t otherwise have the resources or the space to play and therefore receive the sport’s health and social benefits.
“Major League Soccer is committed to increasing the accessibility of soccer, creating sustainable projects that leave a lasting legacy and supporting local youth programs that will encourage children to live a healthy, active lifestyle,” said JoAnn Neale, Chief Administrative Officer, Major League Soccer.
“Our partnership with MLS is rooted in a desire to grow the game of soccer in America,” said Ernesto Bruce, Senior Director adidas Soccer. “Providing safe, accessible places for athletes to hone their skills not only develops the next generation of soccer stars but shares the game with many kids who’ve never had the resources or opportunity to play.”
Through this initiative, the U.S. Soccer Foundation continues its work to overcome the barriers of access that many children face when it comes to playing the game. In urban, underserved communities, the availability of playing space is limited. To reduce this challenge, the Foundation’s Safe Places to Play program seeks to transform and build safe play spaces that are more conducive to play.
“The U.S. Soccer Foundation is thrilled to celebrate MLS’ 20th season, while making a major impact in communities across the nation,” said Ed Foster-Simeon, President & CEO of the U.S. Soccer Foundation. “Working with strong partners like MLS WORKS, adidas, and Southern New Hampshire University is critical; and by working together we can transform the landscape of communities in a very positive way.”
“Our mission is to make higher education accessible and affordable to all,” explained Paul LeBlanc, president, Southern New Hampshire University. “The after-school programming and healthy lifestyle piece of this initiative provides urban youth with increased access to learning and the building blocks for continuing education. We’re proud to support that and look forward to seeing the impact of this program in communities across the country.”