Independent Evaluation of Soccer for Success
In 2011, the Corporation for National and Community Service awarded the U.S. Soccer Foundation a prestigious Social Innovation Fund grant to expand its Soccer for Success program. Soccer for Success is an afterschool program offered at no cost to participants, and is designed to combat children’s health issues in underserved communities. As part of this grant, the Foundation was required to conduct an independent evaluation to measure the impact Soccer for Success had on participants.
The evaluation was conducted by Healthy Networks Design & Research, an evaluation firm with vast experience in children’s health programs, specifically programs designed to combat childhood obesity. The evaluation measured 1,234 children in five cities currently operating Soccer for Success: Buffalo, Denver, Detroit, Los Angeles, and Seattle. In each of those cities, randomly selected schools and community centers were chosen to participate. Half of the children measured at each site participated in Soccer for Success, while the other half participated in other, nonathletic programs offered at the same schools or community centers where the Soccer for Success children were enrolled. Both groups of children were measured for Body Mass Index (BMI), aerobic capacity, and waist circumference at the beginning and end of the 2013-2014 school year. A comparison between the change in each group’s measurements showed the health impact that Soccer for Success made.