ORLANDO (October 9, 2015) – The Orlando City Foundation, in partnership with MLS WORKS and U.S. Soccer Foundation, launched its first Soccer for Success program at the John H. Jackson Community Center in Parramore this month and secured the first location for its second mini pitch at Front Line Outreach Youth & Family Center in 2016.
Soccer for Success is a free after-school program that uses soccer as a tool to address children's health issues, while promoting healthy lifestyles in urban under-served communities.
“We are excited for this collaboration with both MLS WORKS and the U.S. Soccer Foundation because it allows us to implement a program that has been proven to help children across many MLS-based communities,” said Kay Rawlins, the foundation’s president and director of community relations. “We are in the process of finalizing the addition of three to four mini pitches in Central Florida, allowing us to expand our Soccer for Success program in 2016, and are looking forward to working with Front Line Outreach Youth & Family Center as our next partnering facility.”
Mini pitches provide a playable space for organized soccer at lesser costs and in smaller areas, making them particularly attractive in inner cities.
The Lions’ philanthropic arm has secured funding and support from both the U.S. Soccer Foundation and MLS WORKS to undertake the expansions of three to four more mini pitches during the beginning of the 2016 season, following the introduction of the first mini pitch in Central Florida at the John H. Jackson Community Center during the Club’s inaugural MLS campaign.
Throughout the 12-week program, Orlando City staff, coaches and players will visit each center three times a week to interact with children and provide guidance in four main areas, including promoting physical activity, nutrition, mentorship and family engagement.
In a recent study, children enrolled in Soccer for Success improved their BMI by three percentile points, improved their aerobic capacity by 24 percent and improved their waist circumference size by 00.22 inches than children enrolled in other programs. For more information on the independent evaluation of the program, please visit: http://www.ussoccerfoundation.org/our-impact/soccer-for-success-evaluation.
“Our Club appreciates the support we get not only from league-wide organizations, but also from the community in helping us use programs, like Soccer for Success, to make a difference in children’s lives,” added Rawlins.