Pilot to launch fall 2021 and engage 12,000 youth in first year
Washington, DC – The U.S. Soccer Foundation and U.S. Youth Soccer announced today that beginning this fall, the two organizations will pilot a new in-school soccer program for children in kindergarten through eighth grade. Led by physical education (PE) and health teachers, the Soccer for Success in School curriculum will teach the fundamentals of the game while also supporting children by increasing their knowledge and skills in order to maintain and improve their physical, social, and emotional health.
During the 2021-2022 school year, four school districts will pilot the program, with the goal of collectively engaging 12,000 youth in the first year. PE and health teachers will receive equipment, tailored training, and professional development before beginning the program.
This new program builds on more than a decade of experience that the U.S. Soccer Foundation has delivered with Soccer for Success in after-school settings. The goal of Soccer for Success in School is to replicate the positive health and youth development outcomes achieved through that program and positively impact more kids by reaching them where they are—in schools.
“We are thrilled that Soccer for Success in School will provide more children and their families with the tools they need to make heathier choices,” said Ed Foster-Simeon, President & CEO of the U.S. Soccer Foundation. “We’ve seen the tremendous health and behavioral outcomes through our work in the after-school space. By bringing that same type of program to PE and health classes, we can help even more children reap the benefits and develop a love for our game.”
“USYS 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. Our relationship with the U.S. Soccer Foundation gives USYS an opportunity to expand knowledge and love of the game and create fans for life,” said Skip Gilbert, CEO US Youth Soccer. “Soccer develops the kind of positive life skills that innumerable children can benefit from physically, emotionally and mentally. USYS is proud to partner with the U.S. Soccer Foundation to deliver this program to thousands of kids and make a true difference in their lives. We see soccer as a way for any child to pursue their pathway to success.”
According to the Afterschool Alliance, nearly 25 million children are not able to access after-school programs, with the trend even more pronounced for Black and Latinx children from low-income areas. In addition, facing fiscal constraints and state mandates to close the academic achievement gap, physical education is often a low priority at many schools in underserved communities. As a result, the children enrolled in these schools often have fewer opportunities to benefit from physical activity and sports.
The Soccer for Success in School curriculum meets SHAPE America’s National Standards & Grade Level Outcomes for K-12 Physical Education and Health Education Standards. Soccer for Success in School will provide PE and health teachers with high-quality training, curricula, and equipment to run Soccer for Success in School and efficiently achieve physical, social, and emotional health objectives. Five units, each with 10 lesson plans, will be available based on grade level. The lesson plans are designed to fit within existing class schedules. Home and community resources, assessments, worksheets, and an activity library will also be made available.
The Soccer for Success in School curriculum was developed by an expert advisory committee of leading physical education experts. The U.S. Soccer Foundation and U.S. Youth Soccer will work together to train teachers and coach-mentors across the country to deliver this program in school districts nationwide. The program has a bold goal to reach 250,000 youth by 2026.
During the pandemic, the U.S. Soccer Foundation developed a series of lessons that could be used for virtual or socially-distant learning to support schools across the country. Visit https://ussoccerfoundation.org/pe-resources/ to download those resources, express your interest in bringing Soccer for Success in School to your community, and learn more.
ABOUT U.S. SOCCER FOUNDATION
The U.S. Soccer Foundation’s programs are the national model for sports-based youth development in underserved communities. Since its founding in 1994, the Foundation has established programs proven to help children embrace an active and healthy lifestyle while nurturing their personal growth beyond sports. Its cost-effective, high-impact initiatives offer safe environments where kids and communities thrive. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the U.S. Soccer Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization. For more information, visit ussoccerfoundation.org or follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
ABOUT U.S. 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 3 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 nearly 1 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, offering programs that provide a fun, safe and healthy environment for players at every level of the game. We Are Youth Soccer. For more information, visit www.usyouthsoccer.org.
Jennifer Arnold, U.S. Soccer Foundation
Mike Fletcher, US Youth Soccer