Major League Soccer announced Thursday a strategic partnership with America SCORES, a rapidly growing youth development program that uses a combination of soccer and creative writing to nurture literacy, physical fitness and community service among inner city youth. America SCORES, which is an Official Charity Partner of MLS, started in 1994 in Washington, D.C. and is the largest urban elementary after-school program, now serving over 4000 students.
As part of the agreement, America SCORES members will have greater opportunities to participate in some of Major League Soccer's expansive grassroots programs, like MLS Futbolito and the Sierra Mist MLS Dribble, Pass & Score competition. In exchange, Major League Soccer will be featured on-site at America SCORES events and on the organization's official website. Additionally, MLS will highlight at least one America SCORES team on the ESPN2 Soccer Saturday broadcast presented by RadioShack as part of the Capri Sun Youth Soccer Spotlight Team of the Week. America SCORES will promote the Youth Soccer Spotlight program through a national contest that determines which members appear on the broadcast.
"As Major League Soccer enters its historic 10th season, the League's impact in communities across the country is greater than ever," said David Wright, Senior Director of Partnership Marketing at Major League Soccer. "With over 14 million youth actively playing soccer in the United States, MLS is committed to supporting organizations that promote the inclusiveness of our sport at all levels. Our partnership with America SCORES allows MLS to foster mental, physical and emotional well-being among young individuals from the country's inner cities."
Through the partnership with Major League Soccer, America SCORES will become part of the "Get a Kick Out of Reading" literacy initiative started by MLS and the National Education Association in 2003. The program, which seeks to create a multicultural platform that educates both children and families on the importance of reading, will leverage the national reach of MLS and America SCORES to integrate the sport of soccer into activities that encourage positive attitudes about reading.
"We are delighted that the nation's premier soccer organization is helping America SCORES bring soccer to the city, inspiring urban youth to be physically active and lead healthy lifestyles," said Ashley Donecker, Director of Sponsor Services and Soccer Marketing at America SCORES. "Only through the investment of time and resources of organizations such as MLS can soccer thrive in urban environments."
About America SCORES:
America SCORES is a nationally recognized after-school program offering 8 to 12-year-olds the opportunity to play soccer while learning how to express themselves through creative writing and community service. Programs are located in Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, New York, Oakland, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, D.C. The program focuses on kids who are at risk of academic failure and directly addresses two of the most important concerns of urban American families: literacy and health. For more information about America SCORES, log on to www.AmericaSCORES.org.