source: Audi of America
- New multi-year program will contribute funds to MLS Academies
- Audi to pledge funds for every regular season and Audi MLS Cup Playoffs goal scored to MLS Academies, up to $1 million in 2019
- Funds used to increase access to MLS Academies which are the elite player development programs for aspiring professional players
- MLS Academies will leverage funds by launching unique programs at each club that support player education, housing and transportation, as well as the launch of Audi Performance Centers
HERNDON – Audi of America and Major League Soccer (MLS) today announced a league-wide, multi-year initiative to further elevate the game of soccer in North America by enhancing the on and off-field experience at MLS Academies. Launched during the MLS All-Star festivities, the partners unveiled a brand-new youth academy support program– Audi Goals Drive Progress – to help provide funding for MLS Academies. Audi will kick off the program by committing $5,000 for every goal scored during tonight’s game, $500 for every goal scored in the regular season, $2,000 for every goal during the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs from October 19 through November 10, and $10,000 for every goal scored during MLS Cup for up to a $1 million total commitment of funds in 2019.*
With a focus on advancing the next level of soccer in North America, the ‘Audi Goals Drive Progress’ program funding will expand the breadth of academy resources through contributions toward player education, housing and transportation. As part of the education initiative, critical focus will be placed on off-field academics support through Audi Performance Centers helping to ensure young players are supported to maintain excellence on the pitch and in the classroom. The objective of ‘Audi Goals Drive Progress’ is to provide long-term benefits for academy stakeholders including players, the clubs themselves, parents of the athletes, and more.
Audi Performance Centers, located at select MLS Academies, will be equipped with a vast range of technology, tutorial and educational resources to help enrich off-field academic development. One of the first Audi Performance Centers slated to open is Orlando City SC’s in late summer of 2019.
“Soccer is on the rise in the U.S., and in support, Audi is committing to increasing awareness and helping develop world-class training facilities for the next generation of soccer stars,” said Loren Angelo, vice president, Marketing, Audi of America. “Our mission is to help enable the professional pursuit of young athletes and, in turn help create the highest caliber of play to delight fans. Our multi-year ‘Audi Goals Drive Progress’ program with MLS will offer an holistic approach to MLS Academy programs by supporting the growth of soccer as well as driving individual progress both on and off the field for athletes of the future.”
“Audi has been an invaluable supporter of Major League Soccer and our clubs since 2015, and this new initiative to support MLS Academies is extraordinary,” said Todd Durbin, MLS executive vice president, Competition and Player Relations. “A forward-thinking partner, Audi recognizes the value of collaborating with MLS in advancing the game across North America. We look forward to working with Audi to positively impact the next generation of soccer players for many years to come.”
Soccer legend, ESPN commentator and champion of the sport Taylor Twellman joins Audi and MLS in his support as ambassador for the ‘Audi Goals Drive Progress’ program.
“Youth soccer development in North America has been a real passion point for me since my playing days and I truly believe that MLS Academies can be the focal point of our sport in North America,” said Twellman. “It’s essential that they up their game to help ensure the homegrown players are competitive at the highest levels for years to come, so I’m excited to work with Audi and MLS to help raise awareness for their new program.”
Getting fans involved
The ‘Audi Goals Drive Progress’ launch also offers an opportunity for fans in each MLS market to help make an impact via their own social media channel engagement. Starting on July 31, each week, fans that are legal residents of the United States and Canada who are 13 years of age or older can support each of their team’s goals by posting a celebratory message on their Twitter and/or Instagram accounts using their team-specific hashtag, fans are also encouraged to tag @audi for additional engagement. At the end of the season, the team with the highest average fan social posts per game can earn an additional $50,000 for their club’s Academy.**
For full official rules, go to www.gdpfanfaceoff.com
Program earnings to date
Since the start of the 2019 MLS season through July 31, Audi has already committed over $407,000 to academies across North America. In addition to the fan social engagement opportunity, Audi will also contribute funds to specific academies in another unique way: the winner of this year‘s Golden Boot presented by Audi will receive $1,000 per goal in the regular season towards their club’s Youth Academy. The Golden Boot recognizes the league’s top scoring player of the regular season as one of the global game’s scoring elite. Audi will also contribute $2,000 for every goal scored during the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs series and $10,000 for every goal scored during MLS Cup.
Broadcast and digital support
For the 2019 season, ESPN, FOX and Univision will offer dedicated broadcast and digital integrations to support awareness of the ‘Audi Goals Drive Progress’ programming. This coverage will feature spotlights on MLS Academies and future stars across North America while showcasing the impact of the Audi brand‘s contribution toward youth and professional soccer. A new COPA90 video series highlighting the ‘Audi Goals Drive Progress’ program and its impact for MLS Academies and players can be viewed at http://bit.ly/2OD72NY.
Audi of America and 2019 season
This season marks the fifth year of support from Audi as the official automotive partner for MLS and presenting sponsor of the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs. New for 2019, Audi has become the presenting sponsor of the MLS Cup MVP, as well as the official presenting sponsor for the 2019 MLS Golden Boot award. The Audi Player Index will also continue in 2019 with support on the MLS website, MLS social channels, and in broadcast.
Audi and its nationwide dealers further support MLS on a local level with official sponsorships. These local activations and dealer engagement can be experienced with D.C. United in Washington D.C., where Audi is official naming rights sponsor of newly opened Audi Field; Orlando City SC; Sporting KC; New England Revolution; San Jose Earthquakes; Houston Dynamo; New York Red Bulls; Portland Timbers; Real Salt Lake; Seattle Sounders; and Colorado Rapids.
For more information on the Audi and MLS collaboration, please visit mlssoccer.com/audi.
*Pledged funds from MLS team goals for MLS Academies in 2019 will be capped at $1,000,000.
** For fan social media amplification: Void where prohibited. Limit one post per social media platform per goal.