Audi MLS Is Back

Audi of America and Major League Soccer celebrate the 2020 season and reignite commitment to youth development in North America

  • Audi and MLS kick off second season of the “Audi Goals Drive Progress program to provide critical funding to MLS Academies
  • Launch supported by national ad featuring D.C. United Academy players
  • Audi commited $1 million dollars in funding to MLS Academies in 2019; will commit up to $1 million in 2020

HERNDON, Va., July 7, 2020 – Audi of America and Major League Soccer today unveiled a national television commercial to officially kick off the return of the League’s milestone 25th season and the second season of “Audi Goals Drive Progress,” a league-wide, multi-year initiative to elevate the game of soccer in North America by supporting MLS club academies create bespoke programs to help top youth prospects overcome access challenges.

The Audi-produced commercial tells an evolution story of an MLS player’s career and the invaluable impact of the “Audi Goals Drive Progress” program. From the youthful joy of the first practice to the determination needed to make it to the professional pitch, the spot highlights the authentic experiences of MLS Academy homegrown players who work tirelessly on- and off-field to achieve elite levels of competition.

“Audi is proud to continue our commitment to helping the next generation of young players access the tools needed to become more competitive for tomorrow as they aspire to join the ranks of MLS,” said Loren Angelo, vice president of marketing, Audi of America. “We’re also excited to kick-off the second season of ‘Audi Goals Drive Progress’ by giving fans a unique glimpse into the daily lives of these talented young athletes through this latest TV spot.”

Shot on location at Washington, D.C.’s Audi Field— home of D.C. United—the spot features four rising stars from D.C. United’s U-12 and U-18 Academy teams. Debuting in both English and Spanish during the opening match of the MLS is Back Tournament on July 8 in Orlando, the commercial will run on MLS partner networks (ESPN, FOX Sports, Univision, TSN, and TVA Sports), on regional sports networks, and across international broadcast partner platforms, as well as on the League’s own digital channels.

“Audi’s steadfast commitment to helping us develop our young athletes both on and off the pitch has played a pivotal role in the direction of our club and the development of our sport across the country,” said Dave Kasper, general manager of D.C. United. “The opportunity to tell this story together with youth players from our academy at Audi Field, a place they hope to compete for our first team in the future, has been a tremendous and inspiring experience and we’re excited for the program’s continued evolution.”

Audi and MLS’ national television spot was a collaborative effort between Audi’s in-house creative team KreativWerk and the League.

Supporting player excellence on the pitch and in the classroom

Launched during the 2019 MLS All-Star Game in Orlando, the “Audi Goals Drive Progress” program was developed to enhance both the on- and off-field development of MLS Academy players. Funding from “Audi Goals Drive Progress” directly targets barriers to success by supporting players’ access to education, housing, and transportation, as well as the creation of various Audi Performance Centers that support players’ educational needs.

“Audi is a game-changer in the automotive industry and an innovative and incredible partner of Major League Soccer and our youth Academy programs,” said Todd Durbin, MLS Executive Vice President, Competition and Player Relations. “Audi is authentically helping to advance the game across North America at the grassroots level by positively impacting the next generation of soccer players through the ‘Audi Goals Drive Progress’ program.”

Every goal counts

Starting July 8, for every goal scored during the MLS is Back Tournament group stage and Audi Knockout Round, Audi will contribute $1,000 to MLS Academies. For the tournament final, Audi is raising the stakes to commit $5,000 per goal.

In addition to pledging funds for every goal scored, Audi will contribute $10,000 to the Academy represented by the MLS is Back Tournament Golden Boot winner (the tournament’s leading goal scorer). When a revised regular season play resumes following the tournament, Audi will contribute $500 for every goal scored during the regular season, $2,000 for every goal scored during the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs series, and $10,000 for every goal scored in MLS Cup. The total contribution for the 2020 season will be up to $1 million dollars.

As of April 2020, Audi has committed more than $1 million dollars to MLS Academies across North America, and the impact of this funding has been immediate:

  • Since March, 10 Academy players who benefitted from the program have been signed to First team, Homegrown pro contracts
  • Houston Dynamo: Secured staff vehicles to help transport student-athletes who otherwise would not be able to participate in the Academy program.
  • New England Revolution: Installed an Audi Performance Center at their new training facility, in addition to a shuttle program providing necessary transportation for Academy players.
  • Portland Timbers: Secured vehicles to transport players and eliminate recruitment challenges due to geographic limitations.

An ongoing commitment to the future of soccer

This season marks the sixth year of support from Audi of America as the official automotive partner for MLS and presenting sponsor of the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs, MLS Cup MVP, and the 2020 MLS Golden Boot award.

Audi and its nationwide dealers further support MLS on a local level with official partnerships. These local activations and dealer engagement can be experienced with DC United in Washington D.C., where Audi is official naming rights sponsor of Audi Field; Orlando City SC; Sporting KC; San Jose Earthquakes; Houston Dynamo; New York Red Bulls; Portland Timbers; and Seattle Sounders.

For more information on the Audi and MLS collaboration, please visit mlssoccer.com/audi or www.MLSsoccer.com.

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ABOUT AUDI OF AMERICA
Audi of America, Inc. and its U.S. dealers offer a full line of German-engineered luxury vehicles. AUDI AG is among the most successful luxury automotive brands, delivering about 1.845 million vehicles globally in 2019. In the U.S., Audi of America sold just over 224,000 vehicles in 2019 and launched the brand’s first fully electric vehicle, the Audi e-tron – one of four fully electric models coming to the U.S. market in the next two years. Globally, the brand aims to be CO2 neutral by 2050. Visit audiusa.com or media.audiusa.com for more information regarding Audi vehicles and business topics.

ABOUT MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER
Headquartered in New York City, Major League Soccer – celebrating its 25th Season in 2020 – features 26 clubs throughout the United States and Canada, in addition to future expansion teams in Austin, St. Louis, Sacramento, and Charlotte. For more information about MLS, visit www.MLSsoccer.com

ABOUT D.C. UNITED
One of the founding clubs of Major League Soccer in 1996, D.C. United are among the most decorated teams in the United States with 13 domestic and international trophies.

The Black-and-Red have won the MLS Cup four times (1996, 1997, 1999 and 2004), the Supporters’ Shield four times (1997, 1999, 2006 and 2007) and the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup three times (1996, 2008 and 2013).    

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