The Challenger Foundation

LENEXA, KS: Just as Women’s World Cup takes center stage, middle schoolers from Wyandotte County are learning soccer skills, and competing for camp glory in the first Challenger Foundation Free Soccer Camp at Wyandotte High School, thanks to Challenger Sports and the Challenger Foundation.

The Challenger Foundation, a newly formed not-for-profit entity of Challenger Sports, is launching its Soccer In The Community pilot program. Challenger Sports is the largest youth soccer coaching provider in the United States, with over 150,000 players attending camps, clinics, tours, and tournaments annually.

In addition to donating soccer equipment to local schools, Challenger Sports teamed up with Wyandotte High School Girls Soccer Team coaches Josh Wikler and Bre Brandenburgh to create and implement this sports education and character development model for boys and girls in the local area.

Students from Rosedale Middle School, Central Middle School, Argentine Middle School, Northwest Middle School, Sumner Academy and Wyandotte High School were invited to apply for a camp scholarship. A total of 75 applicants were selected.

“We are excited to bring this level of training to our local players right here in our own community. When we remove the barriers of cost and transportation, it makes the sport a lot more accessible to our families” – Wyandotte Coach Josh Wikler

The Foundation soccer camp, coached by Challenger Sports’ international staff of qualified coaches, includes free soccer equipment, skills training; daily World Cup style tournament play; and lessons on respect, responsibility, integrity, sportsmanship, and leadership.

“A week long summer soccer camp currently costs an average of $150 in the Kansas City market. We don’t want this to be the obstacle that keeps kids from participating and learning,” said Peter Arch, co-founder of Challenger Sports.

This Fall, the Challenger Foundation will continue its relationship with Wyandotte County schools by establishing an afterschool soccer training and mentoring program. “Engaging kids in positive and healthy sports activities during traditionally at-risk hours will help build a culture of personal growth and achievement while developing strong character and good values. We envision these kids to become our future community leaders,” said Arch.

Within the next 12 months, expansion of the Challenger Foundation Soccer In The Community program will occur locally and nationally, simultaneously. With 13 regional offices throughout the US, we can duplicate the model, and begin making a positive impact in other major markets quickly,” said Arch.

Future plans also include the formation of a Foundation soccer club. Organized teams of all abilities will play locally; more competitive teams will participate on a local, regional, and national level. And for the most competitive players, the foundation will offer the option to travel and compete overseas.

Sun Fresh Markets and Unilever are supporting the Challenger Foundation with a customer beneficiary program. Throughout the year, Sun Fresh Markets will feature specified Unilever products as “( ). Unilever will donate a portion of proceeds from each purchase of these products to the Challenger Foundation during the designated time period.

foundation camp
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The Challenger Foundation is working to bring professional, educational, and impactful soccer programs to underprivileged youth of all age groups. These programs help to foster and promote healthy living habits at a young age, by engaging kids in regular physical activity, and involving local parents in coaching and support roles. Professional coaching, mentorship, and the involvement in team play through these programs would also foster development in life and social skills, communication, and responsibility. In addition to health and developmental education. Future plans also include introducing additional sports and creating academic support programs.

The initial goal is to engage local middle school and High School students in locally based fully funded camp programs, and then to set up local after school soccer coaching programs in each market. Beginning with a pilot program in Wyandotte County, Challenger plans to expand this programming next year throughout Kansas City KS and Kansas City MO,  and also duplicate the model in our other major markets.

The program would:

  • Help engage children in positive and healthy sports activities during traditionally at risk hours.

  • Build a culture of personal growth and achievement while developing young people with strong character and good values who can become the future leaders in each community.

  • Provide a fully funded summer camp that would help bring attention to and launch the program in each local community.  (Boys & Girls grades 6-8)

  • Set up local community after school Soccer Programs for players of all abilities (Boys & Girls ages 5-18)

  • Duplicate camp programs and after school coaching nationwide

  • Create organized teams for local in house play (Boys & Girls ages 6-16)

  • Create competitive teams who would travel to local leagues (Boys & Girls ages 10-18)

  • Provide opportunities for competitive teams to participate in local, regional, national tournaments

  • Provide opportunities for competitive players and teams to travel and compete overseas.

Programs would be staffed by both qualified international coaches who would also train local coaches to help sustain the program and to create a stronger bond with the local community.

The long term vision would be to establish a permanent physical base for each academy where educational and pastoral support can be provided to the children and the members of the clubs can be involved in community give-back programs.

Since our inception in 1985, the company has raised over $15 million dollars directly benefiting the players, parents, and coaches involved in grassroots soccer programs in each of the 50 US states and in 7 Canadian provinces. As an additional gift to each community, Challenger also provided hundreds of free coaching clinics for thousands of local volunteer coaches. Challenger has partnered with United Soccer Coaches to help provide grassroots training where it is needed most – to the mom or dad who has kindly given up their time to coach their child’s team in the local league.

Each year Challenger Sports also donates valuable equipment, soccer balls and uniforms to many soccer based charities, schools, orphanages and missions in Central and South America and Africa, and supports several national and international community outreach programs.

CSC foundation boys

Dear Mr. Arch,

I just wanted to thank all of you one more time for your incredibly generous donations. We were able to fill up 16 suitcases filled with cleats, balls, jerseys, shorts, shinguards, socks, cones and sweatshirts. The response was overwhelming. Last month, Oceans of Mercy was able to deliver the gear. Thank you for taking the time to get in touch with me and for delivering the goods.  Thanks again and best of luck to all your kids in their upcoming Spring soccer season.
Reneé – www.oceansofmercy.com

For more information about the Challenger Foundation please contact foundation@challengersports.com

challenger foundation sponsors

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