PHILADELPHIA – As current Major League Soccer markets continue to expand and new franchises are established, along with it comes an increasing interest amongst the local youth. With a MLS club comes excitement from supporters, sports fans and the surrounding community, so does the publicity around the condition of fields, lack of public facilities, and opportunities for children to play soccer.
In the case of the Philadelphia Union, the club has two communities to support – Philadelphia and Chester, home of PPL Park. Through the Philadelphia Union Foundation and MLS W.O.R.K.S., much has be done already to benefit the community but it is an on going and never ending project.
This is where Allstate steps in by filling the gaps and doing their part to improve the community.
As a part of Allstate’s sponsorship with Major League Soccer, it is their mission to give back to these communities and provide an opportunity. An opportunity to attend for many what is their first professional soccer match, let alone one of the biggest soccer events of the year in the United States – the MLS All Star Game – Major League Soccer’s top players versus the European Champions, Chelsea.
Speaking to Karen Uhler, Director of Sponsorship Marketing for Allstate, she noted that, “Soccer is growing exponentially in this country and as a marketer and as Allstate, one of the best out there with our Good Hands [F.C. Program], we wanted to be a huge part of the soccer landscape and really enjoy where our consumers are – their passion point, and that’s where Allstate is going to be.”
Yesterday Allstate impacted the lives of twenty unsuspecting youth at the Starfinder Foundation’s indoor soccer facility in Philadelphia. Along with representatives from both Allstate and the Starfinder Foundation, former U.S. Men’s National Team and MLS player and recent National Soccer Hall of Fame inductee, Tony Meola was on site to help coach and provide instruction during a training session.
“It’s very important that we manifest our brand through the face of people. Tony is representing us on that behalf… We always say from a sponsorship standpoint that if Allstate wasn’t here, would you have missed us? Looking around today, I think these kids would have really missed out having a chance to interact with one of the great legends.”
The surprises for the youth footballers did not end there as they received new kits, warm-ups, equipment, and tickets to tonight’s MLS All Star Game versus Chelsea at PPL Park.
Meola spoke about the importance of the Starfinder Foundation in the Philadelphia community, “All these kids need a place to play to learn the game and in a lot of cases to stay out of trouble. The more you’re [playing soccer] the less time you have to get in trouble, and now you’re learning how to work with a group, learning how to play a game, and learning how to be a part of a team.”
“Places like [Starfinder Foundation] are invaluable. Unfortunately, there are not enough in the country, but we’re getting there.”
Even more, the opportunities do not stop there for these youth as they are members of the Starfinder Foundation. a program that not only provides an indoor facility year-round but safe way to spend time after school while hanging out with other players.
Stephen Baumann, the President & CEO of the Starfinder Foundation commented, “Our tagline is ‘soccer for social change, leadership beyond the game.’ We use soccer as a hook, to engage kids and build the culture here. It’s really about mutual respect and building character, leadership, community service. All the kids who are here are kids who have a passion for soccer.”
Baumann continued, “It’s important to us, the things that we measure, that all these kids graduate high school and matriculate in college. The last four years, one-hundred percent, which is sixty-eight, have graduated from high school. Sixty-two of them are in college right now. In Philadelphia, where the average percentage to graduate from high school is sixty percent and matriculation to college is twenty percent, our kids are doing a lot better, and I think it’s because we help create a sense of community here.”
About the Starfinder Foundation
Starfinder is a not-for-profit organization based in the Manayunk section of Philadelphia that serves youth in the Greater Philadelphia area founded in 2002. Starfinder’s soccer, educational and personal development programs inspire young people from underserved communities to achieve success both on and off the field. Starfinder promotes youth leadership, a love of learning, the benefits of teamwork as well as the rewards of commitment and responsibility which is designed to help young people aspire to, and achieve, the highest levels of success.
For more information on the Starfinder Foundation, please click here.
Allstate is the largest publicly held personal lines property and casualty insurer in America. Founded in 1931, Allstate later became a publicly traded company in 1993 and are listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: ALL). As of year-end 2011, Allstate had $125.6 billion in total assets. In 2011, Allstate was number 93 on the Fortune 500 list of largest companies in America.
For more information on Allstate, please click here.