D.C. United's G.O.A.L. (Gaining Occupational Awareness and Learning) Zone program was recognized by the Virginia Department of Education for promoting excellence in career and technical education. The G.O.A.L. Zone program, now in its second year, was designed by D.C. United and Jennifer Hendrickson of Annandale High School to help Fairfax County public school students in sports and entertainment marketing classes gain real-life experience in the field of sports marketing. United was one of nine organizations statewide to receive the award, collecting top honors in the business/industry partnership school division.
"We are excited to receive this award and proud of the hard work of the students involved in this program," said Jamie O'Connor, vice president of sales and marketing for D.C. United. "The G.O.A.L. Zone program is a perfect example of D.C. United's commitment to working within the Washington, D.C.-area educational community."
In 2004, The G.O.A.L. Zone program allowed advanced sports and entertainment marketing students from seven area high schools to develop a marketing plan for United's April 24 game against the Chicago Fire. Beginning in October 2003, students were responsible for conducting market research, identifying demographics and target markets and creating promotional materials to support their marketing campaign. Students also gained experience in budgeting, career planning, human relations, business ethics, sales and event management.
Four new schools - Fairfax High School, Lee High School, Westfield High School, and West Springfield High School - joined Annandale High School, Edison High School and Hayfield Secondary School this year to participate in the program. The project was ultimately responsible for over 800 students, family and friends attending the April 24 match.