Soccer has long been known by its fans as “the beautiful game”—for its strategic complexity, the grace of its plays and its ability to bring people together. In fact, the sport that most of the world calls "football" is by far the most popular on the planet. Even in the United States, a relative newcomer to the field, nearly 60 percent of young people aged 16 to 24 consider themselves fans. And they are among the millions of passionate aficionados cheering the news that the FIFA World Cup will be held in North America in 2026.
At LISC, we know that sports teach teamwork, discipline and social skills to young people, promote community cohesion and safe streets, and provide an avenue to health and wellbeing for residents. Which is why creating quality athletic facilities and fields is part of our mission.
26x26 is a multinational effort, led by LISC, to build 26 new and renovated soccer fields in communities across the United States where recreation spaces are lacking. They will serve as welcoming spaces where young people can learn and practice the game, and benefit from educational programming in the bargain.
This is an unprecedented collaboration between LISC, Lionsraw, the American Outlaws and UNICEF USA. In addition to creating fields, 26x26 will incorporate World Cup-related events for youth, including leadership and sports media training. UNICEF’s Kid Power initiative, which engages young people to help upend childhood hunger, will also be part of the programming. 26x26 has already attracted world class ambassadors in soccer stars Landon Donovan and Kyle Martino, and broadcaster Rob Stone.
LISC and its partners are already working to raise $13 million in sponsorships and grants that will, in turn, leverage $30 million in local investments to construct these fields and fund programming. Our goal is to involve one million youth from across the country in health and recreation programs through the initiative.
To achieve these aims, 26x26 partners are seeking local and national investors who are committed to forging opportunity for youth and helping local economies thrive. We hope you’ll join us!
Fast Company takes an in-depth look at LISC's $30 million collaboration with Lionsraw and American Outlaws to fuel soccer facilities and youth programming in underserved communities with 26x26.
An overview, strategy and timeline of the unprecedented partnership aiming to increase youth access to sport, build critical skills gained through sport, and stabilize under-resourced communities.
For information on sponsorship and participation, please contact:
Senior Program Director, Sports and Recreation
Senior Development Officer