CHICAGO (Dec. 12, 2019) – As part of U.S. Soccer’s ongoing commitment to reduce barriers for youth players to participate in the sport, more than one million dollars in financial aid for the Development Academy Scholarship Program has been provided to youth players across the country for the 2019-20 Development Academy season.
Through generous contributions from Allstate and individual U.S. Soccer Donors, more than 715 players – the most ever awarded – will receive scholarship support to compete in the Development Academy and receive elite training, coaching, and competition that is crucial for their continued development.
The 2019-20 scholarship fund represents the largest single-season investment since the program’s launch in 2008, ensuring that more players than ever have access to the world-class Development Academy environment for training and competition.
With this year’s scholarship fund, U.S. Soccer has contributed more than $5.2 million during the 12 years of the Scholarship Program to provide financial support to 3,720 players competing in the Development Academy.
“Our goal is to make sure every player that is good enough to play in the Academy will have that opportunity,” said U.S. Soccer Sporting Director Earnie Stewart. “The Development Academy Scholarship Program allows us to make sure certain costs, such as travel expenses, that might be burdensome for players and their families won’t be a reason a player doesn’t get the opportunity to compete and succeed in the Academy.
“We are incredibly thankful to our sponsor Allstate and the U.S. Soccer Donors for providing more than one million dollars for the Scholarship Program this season. The amount of funding we’ve received continues to grow each and every year, allowing us the incredible opportunity to ensure more and more players can compete in the Academy.”
This year’s Scholarship Program will impact the largest number of clubs ever, as 91-percent of Girls’ Academy clubs have a scholarship recipient on their roster and more than two-thirds of Boys’ Academy clubs have a player receiving financial aid.
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The average household income of a scholarship recipient is within five percent of the Federal Poverty Level, with nearly 60 percent of recipient households receiving some kind of government assistance. Eighty-five percent of those receiving scholarships have ethnic minority backgrounds.
Earlier this year, Allstate joined the U.S. Soccer family with a multi-year partnership as presenting sponsor of the Development Academy, which includes an annual donation to the Development Academy Scholarship Program. Allstate provided nearly a quarter of the fund with a $250,000 donation, while the continued generosity of U.S. Soccer Donors accounts for the rest of the financial aid.
“Empowering youth through positive outlets that teach teamwork and grit while helping develop their skills is a part of Allstate’s purpose and one of many ways we give back to the community,” said Pam Hollander, vice president of consumer marketing. “The partnership with U.S. Soccer Development Academy is one that exemplifies this commitment and provides inspiration for this talented community of youth.”
In addition to the scholarships, this year marked the third year of the Dimitrios Tsatsis Scholarship Fund, established by the Mark and Mary Ann Kaufman Foundation, which provides additional funding to cover all player travel needs for the season. Players are selected and nominated by their clubs to earn this prestigious award. Ten girls and eleven boys with significant on-field potential and financial need were selected as this year’s Tsatsis Scholarship recipients.
The DA selects scholarship recipients in August and September each year, using an application process that takes many factors into consideration, including but not limited to family income. Scholarships are available to full-time players only and award amounts are impacted by the total distance the player will travel for competitions. The Development Academy Scholarship Program helps increase affordability for lower-income players and families by covering travel costs throughout the 10-month season.
Applicants are required to complete an online application which includes providing a Federal Tax Return and other financial information. All information submitted is confidential and used for the sole purpose of determining the applicant's ability to fund participation in the Development Academy.
U.S. Soccer is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, and through the generous support of philanthropic donors, the Federation is able to fund unique and meaningful programs to develop world-class players, coaches, and referees. Learn more about the Federation’s philanthropic programs and the U.S. Soccer Development Fund at www.ussoccer.com/fund.