Nearly 500 supporters of the U.S. Soccer Foundation came together at the Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles – on the pitch of Major League Soccer’s LAFC – Monday evening to commemorate the organization’s achievements of growing the game and providing youth recreation opportunities in underserved communities throughout its 25-year history.
The U.S. Soccer Foundation’s 25th anniversary celebration featured many of the women and men who have been a part of the organization throughout its history and supporters from the most storied soccer teams in American history, including members of the “‘99ers,” the World Cup-winning 1999 U.S. Women’s National Team. The Foundation and its supporters also used the 25th anniversary celebration to highlight the contributions of five national leaders who are bringing soccer to underserved communities nationwide.
“We’ve been honored to play a role in the phenomenal growth of the game in the United States,” said Ed Foster-Simeon, President & CEO of the U.S. Soccer Foundation. “Sport has existed for millennia because there’s a payoff for everyone who plays – not just those who make it to the very top. Mastery of soccer skills builds confidence and self-esteem. The game teaches teamwork and leadership. We look forward to the next 25 years as we continue to make soccer everyone’s game.”
Target has been a leader in corporate responsibility and community-building for years, uplifting neighborhoods nationwide by setting the bar for investing in communities. In 2017, the company made a $14 million commitment to youth soccer to bring the game to more kids and families across the country. This investment included the launch of a grant program to provide local organizations with funding for player and field equipment as well as training for volunteer coaches. In its work with the U.S. Soccer Foundation, Target exhibits exemplary leadership and dedication to the Foundation’s mission to increase access to the sport in underserved communities. Target was the first to make a significant contribution and fund the creation of 100 mini-pitches with the Foundation, providing safe places to play nationwide.
Major League Soccer has been a leading force behind the growth of the game in the United States. Founded in 1993 as part of the U.S. bid to host the 1994 FIFA World Cup, MLS debuted its first season in 1996 with 10 teams. The league excelled in growing its fan base and today 24 teams play in the U.S. and Canada. In addition to growing the sport professionally, the organization has made a significant commitment to addressing important social issues and enriching the lives of those in need through MLS WORKS, the league’s social responsibility platform. MLS has invested millions of dollars for more than a decade to improve the quality, safety, and accessibility of the sport in communities nationwide.
Game Changer Award
Founded in 2012 with its inaugural playing season in 2013, the National Women’s Soccer League, LLC operates the only Division 1 professional women’s soccer league in the United States and features the most prolific domestic and international players from around the globe. Guided by the league’s core principles, NWSL is committed to building on its foundation to promote women’s soccer in the United States and provide a home to the world’s top athletes at the highest level, while inspiring the next generation of female athletes.
The 1999 U.S. Women’s National Team will forever have an iconic place in soccer. Aside from being one of the best teams to ever play, the team carved out an important place in sports history by solidifying a foundation for women in soccer. The sheer talent, energy, and determination the ‘99ers encompassed when they clinched the World Cup remains one of the single most inspiring moments in soccer today. Players from this historic team continue to find ways to give back to their communities, broadening access to the game and continuing to energize people around the sport. As trailblazers, this team has served as excellent ambassadors for the game and role models for youth.
The players of the 2019 U.S. Women’s National Team have never disappointed. They will defend their FIFA Women’s World Cup title in France this summer. They represent the latest iteration in an evolution of greatness, with the U.S. Women’s National Team considered the most successful in the world due to their consistent high standard of excellence, three World Cup titles, four Olympic gold medals, and other competitive awards. The team has inspired countless young women and men to dream big and believe in themselves through a shared vision to increase excitement about soccer. Their impressive talent, combined with their teamwork and community engagement, highlight the best of this sport and showcase the critical skills young people can learn on the field and apply in their lives.
Platinum sponsors of the event included adidas, the Britton Family Foundation, Los Angeles Football Club at Banc of California Stadium, Major League Soccer, Target, Telemundo Deportes, and NBC Sports.