The U.S. Soccer Foundation is launching a national campaign, It's Everyone's Game, aimed at dramatically expanding its impact on children across the country through soccer-based programs. In partnership with communities, municipalities and corporate partners across the country, including Houston, the Foundation is pledging to reach one million children annually and build 1,000 soccer courts, called mini-pitches, by 2026.
"Our Soccer for Success program shows that soccer can be the difference between a child who thrives and a child who falls through the cracks," said Ed Foster-Simeon, President & CEO, U.S. Soccer Foundation, in the organization's press release. "Yet far too many children across the country do not have access to soccer programming or the opportunity to engage with a coach who can help them develop critical life skills that support their development on and off the playing field. The premise of our work is simple: We train coach-mentors. We make sure there are fields to play on. And we support after-school soccer programs in underserved communities that are offered free to participants. By eliminating barriers and creating opportunities, we help the kids who need us most to not only play soccer, but also to be healthier, more active, and more confident."
Houston joins several other communities that have taken steps to joining It's Everyone's Game: Baltimore, MD; Chicago, IL; Columbus, OH; Hendersonville, TN; Kansas City, MO; Louisville, KY; Miami, FL; Nashville, TN; Newark, NJ; New York City, NY; North Miami, FL; Oklahoma City, OK; Orlando, FL; Philadelphia, PA; Reno, NV; Rochester, NY; San Bernardino, CA; Tucson, AZ; and Washington, DC.
It's Everyone's Game at its core represents access and inclusion. As an extension of this ethos, the Foundation will be unveiling customized pitch crests for each partner city as symbols of local engagement between the broader soccer community and It's Everyone's Game. The uniquely-designed campaign pitch crests will be available on the campaign website for participants to share on social media channels using #EveryonesGame.
In 2016, the Dynamo, U.S. Soccer Foundation, adidas, Southern New Hampshire University, and MLS WORKS opened a new mini-pitch at the KIPP Climb Academy as part of the 20 For 20 mini-pitch initiative to build 20 new courts across North America in underserved communities.
For more information about It's Everyone's Game, how to stay updated on the campaign, and ways to get involved, visit itseveryonesgame.org.