As the official education partner of Major League Soccer, Southern New Hampshire University is joining forces with MLS clubs in the United States and Canada to make a real, measurable impact in local communities. The goal is to support youth programs, local charities and the military through various community-based initiatives, including the MLS WORKS 20 for 20 Mini-Pitch Initiative, KickStart fundraising program and Operation: Back of the Net.
To date, these initiatives have raised $100,000 for the U.S. Soccer Foundation's Soccer for Success Program and $294,000 for the United Service Organization (USO). For the 20 for 20 Mini-Pitch Initiative, SNHU and MLS partnered with co-sponsors MLS WORKS, adidas and the U.S. Soccer Foundation to build 20 mini soccer fields in city neighborhoods, creating a safe place to play for children in underserved communities.
SNHU Awards Scholarship to Community Member
In March 2016, SNHU President Paul LeBlanc awarded a full academic scholarship to Santa Ana, CA, community member Veronica Rodriguez during the unveiling of a new mini-pitch at Andrew Jackson Elementary School. "Once I finish, I'll be the first college graduate in my family," Rodriguez said.
Children from the Center for New Americans at YWCA New Hampshire were on hand to help open a mini-pitch at Sheehan-Basquil Park in Manchester. It is the 25th mini-pitch Southern New Hampshire University and Major League Soccer have opened across North America.
The SNHU women's soccer team - along with several FC Dallas players - showed the Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas where the sport and STEM intersect during a "Science of Soccer" clinic. The event introduced the girls to opportunities available to them in the industry, using soccer as a learning tool.
Two middle schools in Texas benefited from the SNHU/FC Dallas partnership, as one received a new mini-pitch and the other was gifted three mobile STEM labs. The donations allow the organizations to continue their support of assisting schools in underserved neighborhoods.
When SNHU students work together, great things happen. Over a dozen students joined volunteers from the L.A. Galaxy and nonprofit Mission Continues to build homes for Habitat for Humanity. One volunteer - a formerly homeless Navy veteran - was also surprised with a full-tuition scholarship to SNHU.
Los Angeles middle-schoolers fused together the science, math and art of soccer during a weeklong STEAM Academy hosted by SNHU and the L.A. Galaxy. SNHU faculty members designed the curriculum, developing hands-on activities that would help the students connect STEAM and everyday experiences.
The second mini-pitch in Los Angeles was unveiled in Watts, a neighborhood battling high crime rates and low education levels. In partnership with the L.A. Galaxy Foundation, children now have a safe space that allows them to experience a playful, community-centered childhood.
Chicago’s Gage Park became the home of two new mini-pitches, thanks to the partnership between Major League Soccer and SNHU. MLS All-Stars, like Tim Howard, served as celebrity coaches during a children’s game, and SNHU presented a full scholarship to a deserving community member.
SNHU teamed up with LA Galaxy to unveil a new mini-pitch at Andrew Jackson Elementary School in Santa Ana, CA, and to present a full scholarship to local community member Veronica Rodriguez.
SNHU and the New England Revolution unveiled a new mini-pitch at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston - Yawkey Club of Roxbury and presented scholarships to two Boys & Girls Clubs staff members.
In honor of the 2016 AT&T MLS All-Star Game, SNHU and the San Jose Earthquakes opened a new mini-pitch at Ocala STEAM Academy in San Jose, CA, and awarded a full scholarship to a community member.
FC Dallas and SNHU celebrated the unveiling of a new mini-pitch at the Moorland Family YMCA in Dallas, TX, and presented a scholarship to a YMCA staff member ready to return to school at SNHU.
SNHU partnered with the New York Red Bulls to create a new safe place to play at George Washington Carver School. In addition to the mini-pitch, they sent students to a New York Red Bulls game.
In partnership with the Orlando City Soccer Club, SNHU and its partners celebrated the opening of a new mini-pitch at the Walt Disney World Clubhouse and gave a full scholarship to a community member.
New York City FC and SNHU unveiled a new mini-pitch at Public School 49 Willis Avenue School in the Bronx and awarded a full college scholarship to a deserving member of the local community.
Southern New Hampshire University and Columbus Crew SC revealed a new soccer mini-pitch at Linden Park in Columbus, OH, as part of a partnership with adidas, MLS WORKS and the U.S. Soccer Foundation.
SNHU and the Portland Timbers opened a new mini-pitch at Aspen Highlands Park in Gresham, OR, and presented a scholarship to Ricki Ruiz, crime prevention specialist with the city of Gresham.
In partnership with Vancouver Whitecaps FC, SNHU revealed a new mini-pitch at Brennan Park Recreation Centre in Squamish, BC. SNHU gave a full scholarship to a deserving member of the community.