U.S. Soccer Awards More Than $1,000,000 in 2019 Innovate to Grow Fund Grants

U.S. Soccer Member Organization Projects Aim to Build Grassroots Soccer Throughout the Country
By: U.S. Soccer

CHICAGO (Feb. 8, 2019) – In advance of the 2019 U.S. Soccer Annual General Meeting, the U.S. Soccer Board of Directors has approved more than $1,000,000 in 2019 Innovate to Grow Fund grants to 17 Federation members whose innovative programs show promise in building the sport of soccer at the grassroots level.

The Innovate to Grow Fund was established in 2017 to help U.S. Soccer member organizations launch new and innovative programs to grow participation in their markets. In order to be considered for grant funding, members’ proposed programs were required to meet certain criteria as part of a comprehensive application process, including:

  • The program must be new and different from current efforts.
  • The program must demonstrate capability to grow participation.
  • The program must demonstrate potential to scale in other markets.
  • The program must align with U.S. Soccer Player Development Initiatives.
  • The member must also be financially invested in the program.

In total, U.S. Soccer approved 17 new projects for 2019, totaling $1,173,311 in grant awards. By comparison, last year the Federation supported 13 projects and awarded $737,000 to member organizations through the Innovate to Grow Fund.

“We are delighted to see this program expand significantly in its second year,” said U.S. Soccer President Carlos Cordeiro. “This shows us just how eager our members are to grow the game in their communities.”

“We’re also very proud of the diversity we saw in our pool of applicants and winners, which included national organizations as well as youth, adult, and joint state associations,” he added.

Following is a full list of the organizations and state associations, some combined between youth and adult, that were awarded Innovate to Grow Fund grants:

Increasing the number and quality of referees in grassroots youth soccer by investing in referee recruitment and training.

Cal South (Joint)
Introducing a new league with multiple age groups in a currently unserved area to reach 3,000 new players.

Eastern New York (Youth)
Staging soccer-themed festivals in targeted, underserved markets to introduce the sport in a fun and engaging way.

Eastern Pennsylvania (Youth)
Increasing access to participation in underserved and rural communities across the State by delivering coaching, refereeing and administrator education.

Georgia (Joint)
Getting more adults directly involved in the game via a new, walking soccer program.

Georgia (Joint)
Increasing teen player participation by delivering a low-cost, easy to access league.

Illinois (Youth)
Providing coaching education courses to 300 previously unlicensed coaches in unaffiliated programs.

Indiana (Joint)
Partnership between the State association, Ball State university, and a local soccer club to provide a holistic, player-centered environment aimed at increasing retention among youth players.

Massachusetts (Youth)
Initiative to deliver soccer programming to underserved areas with a transportable playing surface.

Mississippi (Joint)
Creating a new, urban futsal league to deliver small-sided competition and increase participation in urban areas.

Nevada (Youth)
A program aimed at eliminating barriers to participation by providing youth players with an after-school soccer competition that includes transportation, academic tutoring, and healthy snacks.

New Jersey (Youth)
Increasing youth participation by training local, multi-sport organizations across the State on how to organize, build and grow soccer programs.  A focused effort to target multi-sport organizations in key markets to increase player participation.

Ohio South (Adult)
A program aimed at increasing adult participation by introducing soccer in a relaxed, non-competitive environment, focusing on developing fundamental skills and a basic understanding of the game for those who have little to no soccer experience.

SAY Soccer
Increasing participation by introducing new programming in rural, underserved, and majority-minority communities.

Tennessee (Joint)
Street Soccer initiative aimed at introducing soccer to 5,000 inner city and underserved youth.

Washington (Youth)
Delivering a new soccer program to a large Hispanic community in a rural area.

Wyoming (Joint)
Introducing a new futsal league to keep players engaged after the Fall outdoor season.