Time flies so fast! It’s been one year since the Atlanta United Foundation (AUF) and Station Soccer were founded.
Atlanta United, together with Soccer in the Streets, gathered for an anniversary celebration on October 27, 2017. Station Soccer is the world’s first soccer field that was built in a major urban transit station.
AUF is striving to make soccer more accessible for all people in Georgia. They have different grant programs, equipment donations, and pitch builds. AUF also receives funds as an affiliate of the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation.
Soccer in the Streets is a local soccer organization that aims to reach out to underprivileged youth by providing sports-based training, character development, and employability programs.
Atlanta United President Darren Eales expressed how proud he was of their achievements, “We are very proud of the work the Atlanta United Foundation has achieved in our inaugural year. Community service and engagement is a pillar of our club, and with the programs we have initiated this year we have set a strong foundation on which to build upon in year two and beyond. Station Soccer is a groundbreaking and award-winning project that represents a unique opportunity to provide a practical pathway to the game of soccer for youth across metro Atlanta. We look forward to building on this groundbreaking project and our successful partnership with Soccer in the Streets.”
In just this year, AUF has pledges amounting to over 500,000 dollars for grants to community organizations targeting to improve grassroots soccer. The foundation also provides life skills programs to less-fortunate urban communities in Atlanta. Grants amounting to 300,000 dollars will be allotted for providing soccer programs as well as character-building education to 20 Atlanta area elementary schools and 11 middle schools. Also included in the budget is a plan to implement Westside Soccer League, which would cater to over 200 students.
Station Soccer, is a Soccer in the Streets program, that is made possible through funds from an AUF grant. The project has been able to achieve exceptional milestones- catering to 1,000 underprivileged children, completing 126 hours of youth soccer sessions, operating the first local youth homeless soccer league, welcoming 3,300 adult participants, as well as hosting 23 special events.
Because of the project’s achievements, Station Soccer gained recognition at the international, national, and local level. It also received various awards, including the Global Award for Innovation and Technology 2017 (Beyond Sport), the Urban Soccer Symposium Innovation Award 2017 (U.S. Soccer Foundation), the Community Design Award 2017 and the Activation of a Public Space Award of Excellence (Atlanta Urban Design Commission), the Social Innovation Award (Urban Land Institute), and also became known as one of Atlanta’s Transit Wins in 2016.
Soccer in the Streets Executive Director Phil Hill explains the foundation’s main objective to make soccer a more accessible sport for everyone in Atlanta. “Station Soccer is providing access to the game to kids that otherwise would not have been exposed to the beautiful game, thus fostering a new generation of soccer fans across metro Atlanta. Our organization pursues making soccer accessible and inclusive, and to do so eliminating transportation barriers is key. The partnership between Soccer in the Streets and the Atlanta United Foundation demonstrates the club’s commitment to providing access to soccer to our city’s youth, especially in areas that have historically been marginalized; the social impact of Station Soccer by uniting demographics that would not traditionally meet, but are coming together thanks to soccer, is undeniable.”
Soccer-driven leadership training, promoting employability among the youth, and forming a sustainable, competitive format through adult leagues are all included in the Station Soccer program. The project aims to reach community members from all over metro Atlanta and seized the opportunity to use downtown Atlanta as a central point to start a new urban soccer culture. Overall, the Station Soccer’s main goal is to promote the global nature of the sport.
ABOUT THE ATLANTA UNITED FOUNDATION
The Atlanta United Foundation aims to make soccer more accessible and inclusive for everyone in Georgia. AUF uses soccer as a medium to provide programs which put emphasis on the importance of physical fitness, while at the same time promoting a supportive culture of play and sportsmanship. Through AUF’s investments in nonprofit organizations, they make soccer enjoyable, thrilling, and within reach for those who may have never played before. The Atlanta United Foundation is affiliated with the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation.
ABOUT SOCCER IN THE STREETS
Soccer in the Streets empowers underserved youth through sports-based training, character development, mentoring, and employability programs. Our social soccer organization serves in reaching kids on the field, in small-group classroom sessions, through hands-on experiences and activities, and through participation in youth leadership councils. Equal access to quality soccer training and educational opportunities, as well as leveling the playing field across the board, are also key elements in our core mission. Our organization is behind the construction and program of the world’s first soccer field inside a metro hub – ‘Station Soccer’, an innovation recognized worldwide. For more information about Soccer in the Streets, visit www.soccerstreets.org, or follow us on Twitter and Facebook @soccerstreets.
To find out more about ATL, visit Atlanta United Foundation.