Soccer Across America
What is Soccer Across America?
Soccer Across America is designed to introduce the sport of soccer to youngsters living in communities not yet served by existing clubs and leagues. Focused on making soccer available to lower-income children in under-served communities, Soccer Across America provides soccer training and administrative guidance to players and organizations that might otherwise not be exposed to the sport.
Soccer Across America also helps new programs find the funding and equipment to begin and then to expand their activities. In the past several years, US Youth Soccer has donated hundreds of thousands
of dollars in financial and material support to programs across the United States.
Why do we need a Soccer Across America Program?
Soccer is the fastest growing sport in the United States. It has reached into communities from coast to coast and from north to south. Yet, soccer has not always served inner city and rural communities and all economic and ethnic groups. In order to insure that every child has the opportunity to play our beautiful game, US Youth Soccer founded the Soccer Across America program.
Goals of Soccer Across America
- To reach out to children in under-served and socioeconomically disadvantaged places in order to offer them an on-going program
- of positive sports activities through soccer
- To increase participants self-esteem through participation in an organized and supportive program of team activities
- To build positive social and life skills
- To provide important exercise and increase awareness of one's own health through sports
- To provide the players with positive, cooperative and enjoyable after school and spare time activities
Creating Your Own Program
Soccer Across America programs are run locally by existing clubs and leagues, by Boys and Girls Clubs and Y's, by neighborhood houses and Parks and Recreation Departments. There is no "one size fits all" model for Soccer Across America.
Each program starts differently and is created locally to meet the needs and capabilities of the organization and of the players. Programs in the nation's biggest cities may include thousands of children and yet there are hundreds of small programs that focus on one or two teams, one group of kids in a single neighborhood or one corner of a rural farming community.
Programs may last as little as a few weeks in the fall to as much as full seasons in more than one part of the year. Many programs adopt traditional soccer rules with full-sized fields and full length games while others choose to introduce soccer through "small-sided games" on smaller fields. Soccer Across America can help your community decide how to get started by providing written information and hands-on technical assistance.
The First Steps
- Create local awareness of your efforts to begin a Soccer Across America program
- Talk to US Youth Soccer and your State Association for written and programmatic support
- Seek out other Soccer Across America programs to learn what worked for them.
- Identify a local coordinator, and if possible, a visible role model (soccer person such as a professional player, a college coach or high school or college players)
- Find a coaching instructor
- Identify all the adult administrative functions you will need and develop a volunteer base
- Seek community leadership support from existing soccer organizations, Boys and Girls Clubs, neighborhood centers, police athletic leagues, YMCA/YWCA, housing authorities, Park and Recreation Departments, service organizations
- Ask for help from local and State soccer organizations in setting up basic organizational structures
- Seek community-based financial support from service organizations such as Kiwanis and Rotary, churches, neighborhood small businesses such as restaurants, record stores, clothing outlets and sports stores.
- Identify your equipment and supply needs and look for donations
- Develop instruction agendas and plans of action for administrators, coaches and referees
In order to promote the Soccer Across America program at the local levels and gain community involvement and awareness, certain equipment, services and financial support is needed. Some of these needs are:
- Leadership, high-profile spokespersons and role models
- Local organization, implementation and administration through volunteer coordinators
- Caring volunteers willing to commit sufficient time to the program as referees, coaches, managers, chaperons
- Fields or open playing areas
- Corporate, private and community financial support
- Local leadership, organizers and soccer clubs and leagues
- State Association Soccer Across America Committee representative or coordinator
- State Association Soccer Across America/Recreation Representative to the state Board of Directors
- US Youth Soccer / Soccer Across America Committee and regional representatives
- Distribution of program materials and educational opportunities
- Soccer Across America
- US Youth Soccer National staff