Sports 4 Life grant awarded to Soccer in the Streets for expanded girls programming

ATLANTA - The Women’s Sports Foundation and espnW have recognizedSoccer in the Streets as a 2016 recipient of the Sports 4 Life grant, expanding the organization’s reach with a new program geared toward impacting more girls. One of just 40 organizations to receive the Sports 4 Life grant this year, Soccer in the Streets will continue to provide young women in underserved communities with even more opportunities and access to the sport.

Support from the Sports 4 Life grant will focus on reaching and retaining girls between the ages of 11 and 18 years old with new programming in Sandy Springs, Ga., a city on the northern edge of Atlanta. Young women of all skill levels will have access to Soccer in the Streets’ trained, certified coaches in a friendly environment conducive to quickly learning the game.

“Our organization has dedicated itself to removing those barriers-to-entry that prevent so many from having access to the sport,” said Soccer in the Streets CEO Jill Robbins. “We want to reach all sorts of players — newcomers to the game, especially — and ensure that even more young women have the chance to see the positive impact of participating in soccer.

“We are very grateful for the opportunity to expand our work with new programming that uses this Sports 4 Life backing.”

Launched in 2014 as a collaboration between the Women’s Sports Foundation and espnW, Sports 4 Life awarded its first set of grants in 2015 to “create and expand developmental youth sports programs that serve African-American and Hispanic girls.” 22 grantees were selected in 2015, and the Sports 4 Life program grew to 40 organizations this year.

Soccer in the Streets’ Sports 4 Life-fueled expansion becomes the organization’s latest program catered to young women, which made up 40% of the more than 2,000 kids reached during 2015’s regular activities and Street Cups.

Alongside the many co-educational programs during 2016’s spring season, Soccer in the Streets continued to operate Atlanta Public Schools’ middle school girls league, and elementary school play in Clarkston expanded to a dedicated girls division to keep up with growing demand. Soccer in the Streets also frequently teams up with Sporty Girls, Inc. — an Atlanta-based Sports 4 Life grantee from 2015 — assisting with soccer programming at the annual Get Girls Sporty clinic.

Previous soccer-focused Sports 4 Life winners include the Utah Development Academy in Salt Lake City and the Starfinder Foundation in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. To check out the progress from the first set of Sports 4 Life winners, head to the grant’s homepage on the Women’s Sports Foundation website.