How the U.S. Soccer Foundation Supports Child Wellness through its Sports Grants

It's a magical process to watch a child evolve at sports, and the U.S. Soccer Foundation is at the center of funding a lot of this child development magic.

One day, a young soccer player needs reminders about which way the goal is. A few years later, she has not only discovered the goal, but gets to experience the glory of dribbling down the field with a pack of opponents at her heels. This is the kind of transformation that the U.S. Soccer Foundation has been supporting for over twenty years.

Throughout its history, the U.S. Soccer Foundation has made over $100 million in grants in every state in the nation to support the growth of soccer in the U.S. Since the first grants were awarded in the spring of 1995, the foundation has issued over 600 grants, and hundreds of thousands of individuals have benefited from the foundation's support.

The foundation provides a helpful Guide to Grants and breaks its granting into two categories:

1. Safe Places to Play Grants: These grants pay for synthetic turf, lighting, irrigation,and sport court. Multi-sport field projects are eligible for funding, but such fields must be used a majority of the time for soccer. Multi-field projects are also eligible. 

These awards can be for indoor or outdoor soccer projects, and the guide gives specific award amounts for different projects. For example, lighting grants will typically only cover 15 to 30 percent of projected total costs of the project, so other funders are necessary, and the range of cash granting for lighting is maxed out at $25,000 for single fields and $50,000 for multi-field projects.

2. Program Grants:  Program grants are awarded in cash to cover operating expenses and/or funds to purchase soccer equipment. These grants can also pay the costs to attend the annual Urban Soccer Symposium held by the U.S. Soccer Foundation in Washington, D.C. 

Total amount of program grants maxes out at $50,000 for equipment and cash combined. Cash grants can be used to pay stipends for coaches and program managers, transportation, healthy snacks, award banquets for players, field or facility rental fees, referee fees, background checks, and family engagement events. A list of recent grantees is available here

Whether a child is a toddler in the soccer clinic learning how to pass a ball to another player for the first time, or is advancing her skills and is reaching the point where she understands and practices the strategy of charging another player, these grants help pay for play—some of the most important tools we have for helping children develop strength, stamina, strategy, and self-awareness as humans.