CINCINNATI (Monday, March 31, 2003) – Chiquita Fresh North America today announced its sponsorship of the United States Men’s and Women’s National Soccer Teams, becoming the official banana and fresh produce of the U.S. Soccer Federation. This sponsorship reinforces the company’s ongoing commitment to support good nutrition and a healthy, active lifestyle for children and adults.
Chiquita has signed two of the sport’s most visible and popular stars to serve as brand spokespersons. Landon Donovan, a forward on the U.S. Men’s National Team and a member of the 2002 FIFA World Cup All-Star Team, and Shannon McMillan, a forward on the U.S. Women’s National Team and U.S. Soccer’s 2002 Chevrolet Female Athlete of the Year, will help promote Chiquita® bananas and other fresh fruit as part of the company’s sponsorship.
“Soccer is the fastest-growing participation sport in the United States, making it an excellent way for Chiquita to communicate the importance of a healthy diet and lifestyle to millions of Americans,” said David Lund, director of marketing, Chiquita Fresh North America. “Sponsoring both the men’s and women’s national teams will help us reach both kids and adults across the country. We want to educate families about how eating Chiquita bananas and other fresh produce, when combined with the physical demands of a sport, such as playing soccer, can help them meet their daily nutritional and exercise requirements and lead healthier, more enjoyable lives.”
Chiquita’s sponsorship will be communicated to consumers via signage and public address announcements at U.S. Soccer matches, soccer-themed in-store signage, and on the U.S. Soccer (www.ussoccer.com) and Chiquita web sites. The sponsorship will also be featured in Chiquita’s 2003 summer promotion, in which a trip to a U.S. Soccer match in the Caribbean will be the Grand Prize.
“Chiquita is an ideal partner for the U.S. Soccer Federation, because we both believe that physical activity, combined with a nutritious diet, forms the basis for a healthy lifestyle,” said Dan Flynn, Secretary General of the U.S. Soccer Federation. “We are pleased to welcome Chiquita into the U.S. Soccer family, and know that their support will allow us to spread our message about soccer, physical fitness and health to an ever-growing audience.”
Soccer has experienced tremendous growth in popularity in the U.S. in recent years. In total, more than 18 million Americans of all ages play the sport, including one in four children ages 7-18. Soccer is also the number-one sport among the rapidly growing Hispanic-American population. The sport’s popularity has grown in part due to the U.S. Men’s historic quarterfinal finish in the 2002 World Cup and the U.S. Women’s thrilling championship win in the 1999 Women’s World Cup.
As the governing body of soccer in all its forms in the U.S., the U.S. Soccer Federation has helped chart the course for the sport in the country for 90 years. In that time, the Federation’s mission statement has been very simple and very clear: to make soccer a pre-eminent sport in the U.S. and to continue the development of soccer at all recreational and competitive levels. To that end, U.S. Soccer has managed 12 different National Teams, from Under-16s Boys’ and Girls’ teams up through the Men’s and Women’s World Cup sides. In the 1990s, U.S. Soccer served as the host federation for World Cup USA 1994, the highest attended event in FIFA history, and as the host federation for the most successful women’s sporting event in history—Women’s World Cup 1999. Founded in 1913, U.S. Soccer now has the largest membership among U.S. Olympic Committee national governing bodies.
Chiquita Brands International is a leading international marketer, producer and distributor of high-quality fresh produce. The company’s Chiquita Fresh Group is one of the largest banana producers in the world and a major supplier of bananas in North America and Europe. Sold primarily under the premium Chiquita® brand, the company also distributes and markets a variety of other fresh fruits and vegetables. For more information, visit the company’s web site at www.chiquita.com.