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AYSO & Utah American Legion Announce Partnership to Develop Youth

posted Mar 21, 2011, 5:23 PM by AYSO26 Regional Commissioner   [ updated Mar 21, 2011, 5:28 PM ]
For Immediate Release

Hawthorne, CA (March 16, 2011) -- The National Board of Directors of the American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO) and The American Legion Department of Utah have announced a strategic partnership designed to develop leadership, athleticism, health, and wellness among America’s youth and recognize U.S. Veterans, for their sacrifices and selfless acts of good citizenship.

The ultimate dream is to create a national partnership of the American Legion and America’s most child-focused national soccer organization.

AYSO National President, Mike Wade and Utah State Vice Commander, Jack Climer of The American Legion have jointly pioneered this soccer initiative, signing a Memorandum of Understanding in a ceremony held at the AYSO Section 2/9 Leadership Conference Feb. 12 in Santa Clara, Calif.

“We are excited to launch this partnership,” said President Wade, in announcing the innovative collaboration. “Both our organizations care passionately about what’s good for Veterans and their children. As a new generation of Veterans returns home from overseas assignments, AYSO can be an important vehicle in providing them with quality time with their children.”

The partnership of AYSO and The Utah American Legion will provide a positive experience to America’s youth using soccer as the vehicle. Both parties will benefit from the relationship, which is driven by volunteerism and service, by growing their membership and sponsorship opportunities.

“In 1919, The American Legion was founded on four pillars of service: Veterans Affairs & Rehabilitation, National Security, Americanism, and Children & Youth,” said Department of Utah Vice Commander Jack Climer. “This partnership with AYSO is an excellent fit with our fourth Pillar of Children & Youth in that our local Posts, Sons of The American Legion Squadrons and Auxiliary Units can work in the local communities with AYSO leagues to help them continue to operate and grow their program to the betterment of our communities and our children.

“Utah has a rich tradition of service to the nation that continues via our outstanding National Guard and Reserve Units,” added Commander Climer. “We invite our National Guard, Reserve, Active Duty and Veteran families to join with us for the benefit of our children as we expand our relationship with AYSO throughout this great state.”

This is not the first time AYSO and the American Legion have worked together. In 2008, Post 531 of Parkesburg, Penn. and the American Legion Department of Pennsylvania coordinated and raised the funds to ship 5,000 soccer balls donated by AYSO to children in Afghanistan and Iraq. With the help of the USO of Maryland and DHL global the balls were distributed by soldiers to thousands of children in both countries. And in 2009, the California American Legion and AYSO launched the exploration of a joint soccer project.

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