As a two-time FIFA World Cup champion, two-time FIFA Player of the Year, and star forward for the U.S. Women’s National Team, Carli Lloyd has achieved just about everything there is to achieve on the soccer field.
She’s been able to live out her dream—and she’s passionate about giving girls and women the resources and support they need to pursue theirs. That’s why Carli backs the mission of the nonprofit Women’s Sports Foundation (WSF), founded in 1974 by tennis icon Billie Jean King. The Foundation’s mission is to ensure that every girl and woman has the opportunity to unlock her potential through the power of sports participation and physical activity.
In her role as one of the soccer-playing brand ambassadors for Team VW, Carli last year selected WSF to receive a contribution from Volkswagen of America. This contribution will help WSF further expand its reach and effectiveness at the grassroots level, through community programs and funding for travel and training, as well as advocacy for gender equity in sports.
“We are honored to be the designated charity of the amazing and unstoppable Carli Lloyd, and grateful to Team VW for their support,” says Deborah Antoine, CEO of WSF.
The partnership: WSF and Carli Lloyd
Carli Lloyd has long been involved in WSF initiatives, most recently #WeKeepPlaying, in which elite athletes shared stories of personal resilience for the benefit of younger athletes who might be struggling mentally and emotionally during the COVID-19 pandemic. She is also a past recipient of the Foundation’s prestigious Sportswoman of the Year Award, given at its annual Salute to Women in Sports event.
Carli says that she was “blessed to be able to have opportunities from an early age to pursue my dream,” adding that she supports the Women’s Sports Foundation in order to “make these opportunities available to young girls and women so they too can be successful.”
According to WSF CEO Deborah Antoine, giving girls access to these opportunities right now is critical, in light of the challenges of the past year. “Returning to sports programs is vital,” she explains. “Our research has shown that sports provide tremendous lifelong benefits—physical health, mental health, mastery of skills, discipline, higher grades, confidence, leadership; the list goes on.”
Making a difference in young lives: Girls in the Game
One of the Foundation’s grant recipients, via the Sports 4 Life program founded with espnW, is a Chicago-based nonprofit called Girls in the Game, which currently serves girls in Chicago, Baltimore, and North Texas. Its mission is to help every girl find her voice, discover her strength, and lead with confidence through fun and active sports and programs.
Girls in the Game programming includes game days and clinics with sports and fitness activities and workshops on health, leadership, and life skills; after-school programs offering a safe space where girls can be themselves; and programs for teen girls featuring the full range of game day and clinic activities, plus training to become workshop coaches for younger girls.
Twenty-one-year-old Amira, a track competitor from Chicago, was once one of those teen coaches. Her story demonstrates how WSF and its grant recipients are having a profound impact on young lives.
“Running track … has allowed me to understand what it means to be an athlete, including the development of work ethic, determination, and leadership,” she says. “My purpose in running is to be a trailblazer for young girls; I came to this realization while serving as a teen coach at Girls in the Game.”