Audi of America and Major League Soccer unveiled a national television commercial to officially kick off the return of the League’s milestone 25th season and the second season of “Audi Goals Drive Progress,” a league-wide, multi-year initiative to elevate the game of soccer in North America by supporting MLS club academies create bespoke programs to help top youth prospects overcome access challenges.
The Audi-produced commercial tells an evolution story of an MLS player’s career and the invaluable impact of the “Audi Goals Drive Progress” program. From the youthful joy of the first practice to the determination needed to make it to the professional pitch, the spot highlights the authentic experiences of MLS Academy homegrown players who work tirelessly on- and off-field to achieve elite levels of competition.
“Audi is proud to continue our commitment to helping the next generation of young players access the tools needed to become more competitive for tomorrow as they aspire to join the ranks of MLS,” said Loren Angelo, vice president of marketing, Audi of America. “We’re also excited to kick-off the second season of ‘Audi Goals Drive Progress’ by giving fans a unique glimpse into the daily lives of these talented young athletes through this latest TV spot.”
Shot on location at Washington, D.C.’s Audi Field — home of D.C. United—the spot features four rising stars from D.C. United’s U-12 and U-18 Academy teams. Debuting in both English and Spanish during the opening match of the MLS is Back Tournament on July 8 in Orlando, the commercial will run on MLS partner networks (ESPN, FOX Sports, Univision, TSN, and TVA Sports), on regional sports networks, and across international broadcast partner platforms, as well as on the League’s own digital channels.
“Audi’s steadfast commitment to helping us develop our young athletes both on and off the pitch has played a pivotal role in the direction of our club and the development of our sport across the country,” said Dave Kasper, general manager of D.C. United. “The opportunity to tell this story together with youth players from our academy at Audi Field, a place they hope to compete for our first team in the future, has been a tremendous and inspiring experience and we’re excited for the program’s continued evolution.”
Audi and MLS’ national television spot was a collaborative effort between Audi’s in-house creative team KreativWerk and the League.
Supporting player excellence on the pitch and in the classroom
Launched during the 2019 MLS All-Star Game in Orlando, the “Audi Goals Drive Progress” program was developed to enhance both the on- and off-field development of MLS Academy players. Funding from “Audi Goals Drive Progress” directly targets barriers to success by supporting players’ access to education, housing, and transportation, as well as the creation of various Audi Performance Centers that support players’ educational needs.
“Audi is a game-changer in the automotive industry and an innovative and incredible partner of Major League Soccer and our youth Academy programs,” said Todd Durbin, MLS Executive Vice President, Competition and Player Relations. “Audi is authentically helping to advance the game across North America at the grassroots level by positively impacting the next generation of soccer players through the ‘Audi Goals Drive Progress’ program.”
Every goal counts
Starting July 8, for every goal scored during the MLS is Back Tournament group stage and Audi Knockout Round, Audi will contribute $1,000 to MLS Academies. For the tournament final, Audi is raising the stakes to commit $5,000 per goal.
In addition to pledging funds for every goal scored, Audi will contribute $10,000 to the Academy represented by the MLS is Back Tournament Golden Boot winner (the tournament’s leading goal scorer). When a revised regular season play resumes following the tournament, Audi will contribute $500 for every goal scored during the regular season, $2,000 for every goal scored during the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs series, and $10,000 for every goal scored in MLS Cup. The total contribution for the 2020 season will be up to $1 million dollars.
As of April 2020, Audi has committed more than $1 million dollars to MLS Academies across North America, and the impact of this funding has been immediate:
• Since March, 10 Academy players who benefitted from the program have been signed to First team, Homegrown pro contracts
• Houston Dynamo: Secured staff vehicles to help transport student-athletes who otherwise would not be able to participate in the Academy program.
• New England Revolution: Installed an Audi Performance Center at their new training facility, in addition to a shuttle program providing necessary transportation for Academy players.
• Portland Timbers: Secured vehicles to transport players and eliminate recruitment challenges due to geographic limitations.
An ongoing commitment to the future of soccer
This season marks the sixth year of support from Audi of America as the official automotive partner for MLS and presenting sponsor of the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs, MLS Cup MVP, and the 2020 MLS Golden Boot award.
Audi and its nationwide dealers further support MLS on a local level with official partnerships. These local activations and dealer engagement can be experienced with DC United in Washington D.C., where Audi is official naming rights sponsor of Audi Field; Orlando City SC; Sporting KC; San Jose Earthquakes; Houston Dynamo; New York Red Bulls; Portland Timbers; and Seattle Sounders.