July 22, 2016
Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) has awarded more than 80 scholarships - impacting communities and families across the country - in the first year of its partnership with Major League Soccer (MLS). As the League's exclusive education partner, dozens of current and retired MLS players have continued their education, ensuring a career pathway after their professional playing time has ended. Additionally, SNHU has provided thousands of children across the country with safe places to play as part of the 20-for-20 Mini Pitch Initiative, and through KickStart, a new program launching with the U.S. Soccer Foundation.
"Through our relationship with Major League Soccer, we are committed to positively impacting communities - from children in after school programs to adults serving as role models - through education," said Scott Durand, Vice President, Marketing and Student Recruitment, Southern New Hampshire University. "Even better, we've been able to demonstrate that higher education is within reach and can be attainable for everyone. That's a key part of our mission and one reason why we're so closely aligned with MLS."
Launching during 2016 AT&T MLS All-Star Week, the new KickStart charitable program will benefit the U.S. Soccer Foundation's Soccer for Success program, which provides free after-school programming to help kids establish healthy habits and develop critical life skills. KickStart is designed to engage soccer fans by encouraging them to show off their juggling skills during key MLS games and events. For each juggle, SNHU will donate one dollar towards Soccer for Success programming in the Bay Area.
KickStart activities will take place each day during 2016 AT&T MLS All-Star Week (Saturday - Thursday) in locations throughout San Jose, including during MLS All-Star Community (Wednesday, July 27). Funds raised during this time will remain in the community, directly benefitting the local Soccer for Success program, which reaches nearly 750 children in San Jose and the surrounding Bay Area.
"Southern New Hampshire University's new KickStart program is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate MLS All-Star Week while making a major impact in lives of boys and girls in the Bay Area," said Ed Foster-Simeon, President & CEO of the U.S. Soccer Foundation. "Strong partnerships, like those with Southern New Hampshire University, MLS WORKS and adidas, are critical to the growth of soccer and to the building of a healthier generation. We are thrilled with what's been accomplished through our partnership in the first year and look forward to continuing our important work together."
SNHU will join MLS Works, the League's community outreach initiative, and a variety of MLS partners to unveil the 13th mini-pitch during MLS All-Star Community Day (Wednesday, July 27) at Ocala STEAM Academy. The 20-for-20 Mini-Pitch Initiative is a commitment to build 20 mini-pitches in underserved communities across North America - each one in an MLS market. These mini-pitches provide children with a safe place, within a soccer environment, that encourages unstructured play and continued growth of the game. As part of each mini-pitch dedication, SNHU donates a full scholarship to a deserving community member, demonstrating that higher education is within reach.
In addition to scholarship and community outreach programs, this partnership has provided SNHU students with exposure to special projects with MLS and its clubs, as well as internships - some of which have led to job placements.
About Major League Soccer
Headquartered in New York City, Major League Soccer features 20 clubs throughout the United States and Canada. The 2016 season marks the second year of the most comprehensive U.S. media rights partnership in the history of the league, as eight-year agreements with ESPN, FOX Sports and Univision Deportes have commenced. For more information about MLS, visit www.MLSsoccer.com.
About the U.S. Soccer Foundation
The U.S. Soccer Foundation's programs are the national model for sports-based youth development in underserved communities. Since its founding in 1994, the Foundation has established programs proven to help children embrace an active and healthy lifestyle while nurturing their personal growth beyond sports. Its cost-effective, high-impact initiatives offer safe environments where kids and communities thrive. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the U.S. Soccer Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization. For more information visit www.ussoccerfoundation.org or follow us on Twitter at @ussoccerfndn and Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ussoccerfoundation.
Kristin Lamas Patterson, APR
Southern New Hampshire University
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