FRISCO, Texas (October 4, 2023) – Sunday marked the conclusion of a successful weekend in St. Paul, Minnesota, for US Youth Soccer (USYS). Two events that required months of planning — the 2023 USYS Leadership Summit and the Grassroots Symposium — took place to help grow the game.
Leaders of youth soccer in America — USYS, AYSO, US Club, US Soccer, and SAY Soccer — came together to build the agenda for US Youth Soccer’s inaugural Grassroots Symposium. With a result of nearly 200 attendees from across the country sharing best practices and identifying ways to better serve our most important asset — the players — the weekend spent in St. Paul was a tremendous achievement.
“Sport is a great platform to help influence change in all communities, and with the right narrative can attract the resources needed to support such initiatives,” said USYS Director of Sport Development Tom Condone. “The USYS Grassroots Symposium played a large role in raising awareness through the collective conversations surrounding the game to build capacity.”
Content covered all aspects of grassroots soccer and programming, including fundraising, underserved communities, referees, and coaching education.
Former US Youth Soccer and United States Men’s National Team alumnus Tony Sanneh was one of the many presenters at the Grassroots Symposium. Sanneh has made an overwhelming commitment to helping his community after starting The Sanneh Foundation in 2003, while still in the prime of his professional playing days. His organization operates a community center and provides summer camps, nutritional services, equipment and mentorship services. Sanneh was joined on the Keynote Panel by Faydane Ouro-Akondo and Khalid Saleh, two former members of the program that are now coaches.
In addition to accomplishing it’s primary goal of providing tangible takeaways for State Associations, clubs, and community organizations to better support their communities, the Grassroots Symposium was an opportunity for groups from across the country to connect with others and find ways to support each other in an effort to improve the soccer ecosystem.
What they’re saying…
U.S. Soccer Chief Soccer Growth Officer, Shari Summers: “The USYS Grassroots Symposium was a great opportunity to connect with leaders in the youth soccer ecosystem, learn about all of the amazing work they’re doing every day and talk about opportunities where we can collaborate to help grow the game. U.S. Soccer is more energized than ever to work in lockstep with our members to grow the game, and it was great to see that energy reciprocated by everyone involved.”
Georgia State Soccer Association Executive Director, Laura Halfpenny: “The USYS Grassroots Symposium and Leadership Summit was an inspiring gathering of passionate individuals committed to nurturing the foundation of the beautiful game. It really showcased the power of collaboration and leadership in fostering growth and development at the grassroots level, and evolving our soccer ecosystem. I was particularly impressed with the diversity of topics as well as the quality of workshops.”
Soccer in the Streets Director of Programs, Tony Carter: “I can’t overstate how much of an honor, privilege, and great opportunity to not only be a participant in the US Youth Soccer Grassroots Symposium, but even more flattered to be a speaker as well. Looking forward to seeing how we all can do our part to make the beautiful game more accessible on top of the great work that’s already being done.”
The Soccer Pit Cobras Coach, Manny Touron: “This Symposium has redefined my journey as a soccer mentor, coach, and administrator.”
About the United States Youth Soccer Association (US Youth Soccer)
US Youth Soccer, the largest youth sport organization in the country, is on a mission to provide world-class support, resources, and leadership, helping every member fulfill their goals on and off the field of play. US Youth Soccer registers nearly 2.5 million players annually. Through its programming, resources and leadership, US Youth Soccer is advancing the game for its 54 Member State Associations, 10,000 clubs and leagues and one million administrators, coaches, and volunteers. US Youth Soccer connects families and communities to the power of sports and its shared love of soccer. US Youth Soccer provides a path for every player, coach and referee offering programs that provide a fun, safe and healthy environment at every level of the game.