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Pass, Shoot, Score

Editor's note: The U.S. Soccer Foundation is a nonprofit organization that seeks to improve the health and well-being of children in urban economically disadvantaged areas using soccer as a vehicle for social change.

This past summer, the U.S. women’s soccer team brought home the gold from the 2012 London Olympic Games--showing America the true spirit of team work, and amazing us with their athletic abilities. They played a series of challenging games, but pulled together to win.

Soccer is a great sport that lets you be active while playing outside with your friends! Listen to U.S. Olympic Gold Medalists Nicole Barnhart and Becky Sauerbrunn share why they love soccer, and offer some tips for beginners:

Last May, U.S. Soccer Federation teamed up with Let’s Move! and the Partnership for a Healthier America to engage 12,000 youth in 13 cities through their Soccer for Success program, providing free, afterschool programming to urban youth. In 2011, the program reached 8,000 kids in 8 cities. Visit the Partnership for a Healthier America’s Olympics Page to learn more.

 Soccer 411

  • Soccer allows kids the chance to build relationships with other players; having players with different responsibilities encourages communication and cooperation while developing a sense of team.
  • Keep the ball on the ground: A ball on the ground is easier to control and can be moved more effectively by the team.
  • Playing soccer combines basic motor skills like walking, running or jumping with soccer skills like dribbling and shooting. It is great for cardiovascular endurance and strength, helping to maintain a healthy lifestyle. 
  • Soccer can be a great family activity, whether you’re coaching your child’s team, supporting from the sideline or helping your child practice, spend quality time together and enjoy the sport as a family.
  • Soccer is very simple to start playing and anyone can participate right away.  Whether it’s a recreational or competitive league, there are opportunities available to all ages and skill levels.
  • The 1999 Women’s World Cup Final between The United States and China was the most watched soccer game in the U.S. ever.  The United States defeated China on penalty kicks after a scoreless tie, culminating with Brandi Chastain’s iconic celebration.
  • Abby Wambach has attracted attention on the soccer field since early childhood. Growing up in Rochester, NY, she played in her first youth league at age four but only lasted three games with her team. After scoring 27 goals in three games she was transferred to the boys’ team! The youngest of seven children, Abby felt right at home with the boys’ team, since she spent her childhood roughhousing with her four older brothers.
  • The Boxx sisters have won four gold medals between them. Older sister Gillian won a gold medal at the 1996 Olympics in softball before Shannon went on to win three gold medals as part of the U.S. Women’s National soccer team at the 2004, 2008 and 2012 Olympics.

To learn more: