Recreation Management - Ideas and Solutions for Recreation, Sports & Fitness Facility Managers

Feature Story

March 2019


U.S. Soccer Foundation Aims to Boost Female Participation

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The U.S. Soccer Foundation announced a new funding opportunity for organizations working to address the lack of representation of young women in soccer in underserved communities. The foundation will provide grants to programs that expand opportunities for girls in historically excluded communities and that use impactful strategies to increase female participation in the sport.

According to the Women's Sports Foundation, by the age of 14, girls are dropping out of sports at twice the rate of boys. One contributing factor to this attrition is the lack of program design specifically for young women in the game, which can lead to gaps in mentorship opportunities and peer support.

"Girls are less likely to participate in sports than boys and, as a result, are less likely to reap the many benefits that come with playing soccer and that help them reach their potential both on and off the field," said Sarah Pickens, associate vice president of programs at the U.S. Soccer Foundation. "We're working to change that by helping organizations remove barriers and behaviors that have excluded girls in the past—especially girls living in underserved communities."

The grant opportunity seeks to identify dynamic programs focused on improving recruitment and retention, creating an inclusive environment, and building on the benefits of soccer programming, such as increased confidence, leadership skills and self-esteem.

Organizations awarded three-year grants will submit impact reports and contribute learnings and promising practices. At the end of the three-year grants, the U.S. Soccer Foundation and grantees will present best practices that can be adopted by other organizations in the sports-based youth development field.

Competitive proposals will include a dynamic program focused on addressing attrition rates and overall participation of girls in soccer, in addition to creating an inclusive environment helping young women become leaders.

Proposals are being accepted through April 2, 2019. For more information, visit www.ussoccerfoundation.org/grants/.