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MYSA - AJAX

News Detail

21

Nov, 2023

$25K DoorDash Grant

 

MLS NEXT and DoorDash Announce Recipients of 2023 Delivering Access Presented by DoorDash

 

DoorDash donates a total of $150,000 to six different MLS NEXT clubs, advancing the growth of soccer communities in the United States

 

NEW YORK (Tuesday, November 21, 2023) – MLS NEXT and DoorDash today announced the six recipients of funding from the second-annual MLS NEXT Delivering Access presented aby DoorDash, a program benefitting MLS NEXT clubs by providing financial resources to create equal opportunities and advance soccer communities throughout the United States. DoorDash will provide $25,000 to each of these six clubs – Alexandria SA, Hoover-Vestavia Soccer, Los Angeles Bulls Soccer Club, Modesto Ajax United, Vardar Soccer Club, and Ventura County Fusion.

 

After identifying stories of exceptional self-sacrifice to advance the game of soccer in their local communities, MLS NEXT Delivering Access presented by DoorDash contributes annual funding to different clubs across the MLS NEXT ecosystem. Clubs submitted their stories demonstrating the grassroots efforts made by staff, families, and local communities, and the six recipients were selected by a five-person review panel. Only non-MLS affiliated clubs that participate in MLS NEXT were eligible to apply.

 

In 2022, the six different clubs that were recipients of MLS NEXT Delivering Access presented by DoorDash utilized the funds to open a training center, create outreach programs, increase funding for player scholarships, hire additional staff members, and identify more players for financial aid, among other uses.

 

2023 MLS NEXT Delivering Access presented by DoorDash Recipients:

 

Alexandria Soccer Association (Alexandria, Va.)

An internationally recognized community-based club, Alexandria Soccer Association (ASA) offers year-round soccer and futsal programming for participants with all experience levels. With the Delivering Access funds, ASA will look to offset yearly costs in order to support travel for all players. By doing so, this will give players more ways to be recruited and potentially receive life-changing opportunities professionally or via the collegiate pathway.

 

Hoover-Vestavia Soccer (Birmingham, Ala.)

The only MLS NEXT club based in Alabama, Hoover-Vestavia Soccer services families across the state and supplies top-class coaching, ACT prep classes, and free treatment/rehab from UAB Sports Medicine. Delivering Access funds will help the club offer scholarships via their ‘Pass It Forward’ initiative to players from several of the low-income areas within Birmingham. The initiative provides additional benefits to families that may not fit the traditional financial aid packages.

 

Los Angeles Bulls Soccer Club (Van Nuys, Calif.)

After launching in 2018, the LA Bulls strive to teach essential life skills while developing intelligent, technical, and confident players to reach their highest potential. The club has a strong connection to the Los Angeles community and will use the resources to elevate their scholarship program in underserved communities. Additional ways MLS NEXT Delivering Access will assist includes supporting the player leadership program, mental performance program, and other community outreach initiatives.

 

Modesto Ajax United (Modesto, Calif.)

Modesto Ajax United strives to meet the needs in their community by providing access to athletes who may not be able to afford playing elite soccer by supplying scholarships and transportation and removing barriers to access in the area. The goal is to bridge the gap and provide financial support to deserving families to ensure they have access to the highest level of soccer. One area Ajax will aim to utilize the funds is for the community of Los Banos – a city approximately one hour south of Modesto. Ajax recently provided three players from Los Banos with full scholarships and Delivering Access will assist in expanding that number to more young athletes in the region.

 

Vardar Soccer Club (Rochester, Mich.)

One of the premier clubs in Michigan, Vardar Soccer Club aims to provide a highly competitive opportunity for young athletes, while giving each player the immediate and direct guidance that is carefully tailored to their individual needs. Through Delivering Access, Vardar will provide further training opportunities, fitness experts, and video analysis to their MLS NEXT players. Additionally, the club will continue to strengthen its partnership with Hoverla F.C., a nearby club that has been influential in supporting Ukrainian families seeking refugee from the turmoil in their country. With their support, Vardar and Hoverla have become more than just soccer clubs to these families, but rather a second home for the newcomers.

 

Ventura County Fusion (Los Angeles, Calif.)

Seventy-four percent of families in the Ventura County Fusion program are low-income, including many who are migrant families without college degrees. The $25,000 will be used to combat travel needs, support field upkeep costs, provide access to high-level college guidance, and aid in the development of a nutrition and mental health program. These funds will assist youth players’ physical and personal development at Ventura County Fusion.

 

All submissions were reviewed by a five-person review panel who evaluated the clubs that demonstrated extraordinary needs or challenges by grading each application on a scale of 1-10, with one being the highest and 10 the lowest. All scores were tabulated to determine the six recipient clubs. The panel considered the following factors:

 

  • Coaching and Training: Clubs that have financial needs to support training, equipment, facilities, and/or coaching tools.
  • Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Clubs that prioritize building and sustaining an inclusive and equitable environment for all within their soccer community, including players, staff, and parents.  
  • Community: Clubs that rely on community members to provide volunteer services or products to a club to ensure quality operations and an acceptable training environment.
  • Financial Hardship: Clubs who demonstrate the need for financial assistance to support player scholarships to participate.
  • Transportation: Clubs who demonstrate the need for transportation to allow players to participate. 

 

The five-person review panel was comprised of:

 

  • DoorDash Representative (Kofi Amoo-Gottfried – Chief Marketing Officer)
  • DoorDash Representative (Donna Lupton – Director of Cultural Partnerships)
  • MLS NEXT Representative (Luis Robles – Senior Manager, MLS NEXT Programming)
  • MLS NEXT Representative (Jordan Rouse – Manager, MLS NEXT Club Administration)
  • MLS NEXT Equity Action Committee Representative – (Rumba Munthali – Head Coach, Sporting Kansas City U-17 and U-19)
  • MLS Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Representative (Tunde Oguntimein – Vice President, Commissioner’s Office)

 

About MLS NEXT

MLS NEXT is a new paradigm for player development, launched in 2020 to transform youth soccer in North America. Founded on a collaborative approach to governance and a commitment to innovation, MLS NEXT players have access to the highest level of competition, training and personal development opportunities that will prepare them for their futures, both in soccer and in life. Membership for the 2023-24 season includes 143 clubs, 677 teams and over 15,000 players across the U.S. and Canada. Official partners of MLS NEXT include adidas, Allstate, and DoorDash. For more information about MLS NEXT, visit www.mlssoccer.com/mlsnext.

 

About DoorDash

DoorDash (NYSE: DASH) is a technology company that connects consumers with their favorite local businesses in 27 countries across the globe. Founded in 2013, DoorDash builds products and services to help businesses innovate, grow, and reach more customers. DoorDash is building infrastructure for local commerce, enabling merchants to thrive in the convenience economy, giving consumers access to more of their communities, and providing work that empowers. With DoorDash, there is a neighborhood of good in every order.

 

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