U.S. Soccer and Volkswagen of America, Inc. announced a landmark, integrated partnership making Volkswagen the presenting automotive partner to the Federation through 2022.
The agreement was facilitated by Soccer United Marketing (SUM), U.S. Soccer’s partner for the past 15 years, and was officially unveiled today at a press conference during the Detroit Auto Show that featured Volkswagen Group of America CEO Scott Keogh and U.S. Soccer CEO and Secretary General Dan Flynn.
As part of Volkswagen’s long-term commitment, the automobile maker will help U.S. Soccer with its mission to become the preeminent sport in the United States by increasing participation, developing world class players, coaches and referees, and increasing fan engagement around the sport.
“We are extremely excited to work together with Volkswagen to help us continue to grow soccer in the United States,” said Flynn.
“Volkswagen will be one of the most active and visible partners U.S. Soccer has ever had, providing us with additional resources for more programs that can impact and help develop the sport, while also allowing us to reach more fans of the game across the country. We look forward to the next four years together as we drive towards our mission of becoming the preeminent sport in the United States.”
As part of the historic partnership, Volkswagen will have branding on training tops for all U.S. Soccer National Teams, including the Men’s and Women’s National Teams, all Youth National Teams and the Para 7-a-side, Beach and Futsal National Teams, and the U.S. Soccer Development Academy.
“We are absolutely thrilled about this partnership with U.S. Soccer,” said Scott Keogh, President and CEO, Volkswagen Group of America. “Our program is about helping to grow this great sport in the U.S. The first step is making it easier for women to stay with the sport and pass on their wisdom and passion and love to the next generation of players. Soccer is the People’s Sport and Volkswagen is the People’s Car.”
During the press conference, U.S. Women’s National Team coach Jill Ellis shared via video from the team’s camp in Portugal that Volkswagen’s support will fund programs and provide assistance to develop more female coaches in the United States. While 47 percent of youth soccer players are women, only 15 percent of coaches are female.
“We need more women in coaching,” said Ellis, who led the USWNT to an unbeaten record in 2018 to finish as the No. 1-ranked team for the fourth consecutive year. “Female athletes can relate to female coaches and provide them the aspiration to get into coaching themselves. I’m looking forward to seeing results of this partnership and seeing the impact it will have on providing more opportunities to develop female coaches in the near future.”
With the deal announced in advance of the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France, Volkswagen will be activating during U.S. Soccer’s Countdown to the Cup from January to May, which includes the USA playing a total of 10 games before departing for France in pursuit of another World Cup title. The schedule – which features eight teams that will be participating in France – includes the fourth edition of the SheBelieves Cup, with games in Philadelphia, Nashville and Tampa, and the final three Send-Off Series matches in Santa Clara, Calif., St. Louis, Mo., and Harrison, N.J. Find the full schedule and purchase tickets HERE.
As part of the partnerships, Volkswagen also becomes the presenting partner of Tournament of Nations – a prestigious, round-robin, international women’s tournament that takes place in the United States every year there is not a Women’s World Cup or Summer Olympic Games. The next edition of one of the world’s most competitive women’s soccer events will take place in 2021.
“Soccer United Marketing is proud to facilitate this multi-year partnership between U.S. Soccer and Volkswagen,” said Gary Stevenson, President and Managing Director of MLS Business Ventures. “We are always looking to establish partnerships with iconic brands who are committed to advancing the game in innovative ways and joining us in being leaders in the community. This robust relationship between an industry leader like Volkswagen and U.S. Soccer will elevate soccer’s popularity to even higher levels in North America, especially in advance of this summer’s FIFA Women’s World Cup.”
As Volkswagen plans a major shift towards automotive electrification, the automobile partner will have prominent in-stadium and training camp placements on U.S. Soccer creative materials for National Teams matches, along with a significant presence in the organization’s social media and digital efforts.
The comprehensive deal comes at an exciting time as the U.S. Men’s National Team embarks on their own new four-year journey to reach the 2022 FIFA World Cup under the helm of two-time World Cup veteran Gregg Berhalter, who was named head coach in December. Berhalter will command the next generation of highly talented prospects blended with experienced veterans with a singular focus – to implement a potent combination of style of play, pride and commitment that will make all the team’s supporters proud.
As Berhalter prepares for the CONCACAF Gold Cup this summer, Volkswagen will work with U.S. Soccer to provide fans fun and engaging opportunities to connect with the new-look team.