The RSL Foundation creates an opportunity for players to build connections and encourage empowerment throughout the community. The overall goal for 2018 was strengthen the core principals: Building Healthier Communities, Using Soccer for Social Impact, and Enhancing Education Programs.
The core principals, led the RSL Foundation to assist players with projects and take action throughout the community.
Building Healthier Communities
This was the first year the RSL Foundation strengthened Building Healthier Communities with Player Led Projects. The goal for Player Led Projects was for players to connect with the community individually and create their own platforms. Tony Beltran and Kyle Beckerman took action with this program.
Beltran created a player book club and podcast for the community. Tony challenged his teammates to also read the book. The RSL Foundation partnered with local high schools to hold the book club meeting with students. After the meeting, players signed and donated copies of the book to the school’s library.
Kyle Beckerman led by example in creating his own elementary school book club, Beckerman’s Book Club at Ensign Elementary School. Beckerman tallied students votes on the summer book club novel and led a class discussions in the fall. Throughout the season, Beckerman took part in pre-game meetings with Make-A-Wish children who struggle with health issues and other meet-and-greets for juvenile truancy issues for inspiration. Beckerman also dedicated the KB5 futsal courts with the RSL Foundation to promote a healthy lifestyle and make soccer accessible in the Salt Lake City community.
RSL also took part in the Kick Childhood Cancer event to benefit the Children’s Oncology Group. On September 9th, Utah Royals FC hosted Make-A-Wish grant recipient and honored a child battling cancer as honorary captain. RSL honored Nixon as an honorary captain on September 19th and was visited by RSL players and staff during pre-game. Kids battling cancer were presented throughout the entire match. Nick Rimando continues to stay involved by working with MoStrong, and making hospital visits.
Soccer for Social Impact
The purpose for Goals for Girls Summit, was to use Soccer for Social Impact and develop ideas for global change. Real Salt Lake partnered with Goals for Girls to launch a three-day summit for girls ages 14-18 with the intent to use soccer for social change. Sponsored by the state department, 22 girls traveled from India to take part in this unique learning experience.
The summit was split between soccer training and classroom sessions focused on character building held by URFC players Kelley O’Hara, Amy Rodriguez, Nicole Barnhart. The summit included professional panels with a focus on leadership roles and college.
On the final day of the summit, the 225 participants were challenged to create social change projects in their own communities. The girls spent the third day building projects for their own communities based on the UN Sustainable Goals, that encourage global change in areas such as poverty, inequality, climate, environmental degradation, prosperity, peace and justice.
Seven projects have been launched by participants in the summit. Projects include clothing drives for women’s shelters, awareness to women’s hygiene, and introducing trash and recycling bins to the streets of New Delhi.
RSL Unified team is another example for social impact as the team participates in the MLS Unified Exchange program, competing against unified teams across the MLS. The Unified soccer teams competed in exhibition games with their Special Olympics affiliates. The RSL Unified team matched up against the Colorado Rapids Unified team on August 25, 2018 in Colorado and hosted the Galaxy September 1st. This year, the RSL Unified team became a year-round program. The team will train throughout the calendar year, compete in Special Olympics games, and make player appearances to promote inclusion through sports.
The RSL Foundation also established the Match Day Posters program. This was designed for fans to create artwork for the individual match and were distributed to non-profits across Utah. The posters were given out at Carnival Real before home matches and the donations went to various organizations: Utah Special Olympics, Pride Center Utah, American Heart Association, Transplant Games of America, Utah Aids Foundation, American Cancer Society, Best Friends Animal Society.
Enhancing Education Programs
The goal for this program is unite all demographics and show that we are stronger together. The foundation teamed up with Soccer for All, Athlete Ally, RISE and Playworks. With the presentation of this program, RSL and URFC were the first professional sports franchises in the state of Utah to host a PRIDE night. The fundraising event for PRIDE, raised a total of $6,288 for Athlete Ally.
RISE and MLS Works hosted the RISE Coaching Summit at Zions Bank Training Center. The summit included training on inclusive language and coaching. The summit hosted local youth teams from the area. Coaches and players learned about diversity in their community and how to understand their players and teammates better.
RSL Foundation also partnered with Playworks, for RSL and URFC players to take part in the “Real Players Don’t Bully” campaign. The mission for this campaign, was teach youth social and inclusive skills to prevent bullying. RSL visited local Playworks schools and community events where players talked about how they dealt with cyber-bullying. Throughout the month of October, RSL players also participated in a social media campaign by posting why inclusion is important to them.
The RSL Foundation featured a successful season in progressing the Foundation’s core values: Building Healthier Communities, Using Soccer for Social Impact, and Enhancing Education Programs and will continue this emphasis for the 2019 season.