For kids interested in playing soccer, the costs to their families can quickly add up.
From registration and membership fees to travel costs like gas or hotels, youth soccer has become one of the more expensive sports in America. According to research done by the Aspen Institute, it can even be more expensive than sports like baseball, basketball or tackle football.
As a result, youth that are priced out of soccer can miss out on the numerous benefits, such as learning teamwork and problem-solving skills and improving their cardiovascular and muscular fitness.
That's where the U.S. Soccer Foundation aims to make a difference. Through a program called Soccer for Success, the foundation provides kids the opportunity to play organized soccer after school for free.
“If we can get kids moving in a healthy, safe space and teach them about their own health and wellness and provide them with positive coaches and mentors, they can thrive," says Michael Vaughan-Cherubin, senior director of Soccer for Success.
RBC Wealth Management is also helping the foundation grow its impact. Through RBC's partnership with Major League Soccer (MLS), the firm has committed to sponsoring the Soccer for Success program through 2027, and to supporting the program with employee volunteerism.
“We're proud to work with the U.S. Soccer Foundation to support Soccer for Success," says Shana Deuel, senior sponsorship manager at RBC Wealth Management–U.S. “At RBC Wealth Management, we're committed to helping prepare youth for future success and to promoting sports and activities that contribute to healthy habits and healthy communities," says Deuel.
Mike Berens, director of RBC Wealth Management’s Rockville, Md., branch, coaches a group of Soccer for Success participants. All photos courtesy of Liz Lynch, Photographer.
Helping kids through sport
The Soccer for Success program, which was created in 2009, has served more than 500,000 kids in over 50 cities across the country. The U.S. Soccer Foundation partners with local community organizations to find mentor-coaches and volunteers that can help facilitate 75-90 minutes of soccer three times a week, 24 weeks per year.
In June 2023, a group of 12 RBC Wealth Management employees from the Washington, D.C., area volunteered with an end-of-season Soccer for Success event. Along with D.C. Parks and Recreation, the RBC Wealth Management volunteers helped with all aspects of organizing and running four soccer games for 50 youths. Employees served as coaches and referees and helped set up and take down equipment like tables, tents and water coolers.
Sophia Hurrell, operations manager for RBC Wealth Management's Washington, D.C., complex, volunteered at the event and says employees were excited to come out and help support Soccer for Success.
RBC Wealth Management financial advisor Melanie Folstad volunteers along the sidelines of a Soccer for Success game.
“The response we got when we asked for volunteers was amazing—there's so much energy around our partnership with MLS," Hurrell says.
The youth were also excited to be there and appreciated the opportunity to play soccer, she adds. “The kids had fun, and it was rewarding to be able to help facilitate that."
That's what Soccer for Success is all about, says Scott LaGrand, the U.S. Soccer Foundation's vice president of corporate development and partnerships.
“We're helping to improve the health and well-being of kids in our community, and we couldn't do it without partners like RBC Wealth Management," he says.
RBC Wealth Management also sponsored the Soccer for Success jerseys.