"We are thrilled to be able to offer the return of youth sports through this program which eliminates any barrier to entry for 600 local kids,” said Jamie Fabos, Chief Communications Officer for the City of Colorado Springs. “Making soccer free means access to a healthy and beneficial activity for kids regardless of their income bracket, and this program is even more important now, given the emotional, economic and social impacts of the pandemic, and is a sign of a return to normalcy.”
The program is made possible through two grants given to Olympic City USA from Comcast NBCUniversal and Children’s Colorado. Comcast NBCUniversal’s investment was the catalyst for the idea. Fabos says the promotion, “truly brings the spirit of Olympic City USA to the grassroots level.”
In addition to the funding, both organizations have pledged to help recruit youth sport coaches from their internal ranks to meet the need.
“We continue to be a proud supporter of Olympic City USA and their community programs,” said Mary Spillane, director of community impact for Comcast Mountain West Region. “Supporting our local communities is one of our core values at Comcast NBCUniversal. It’s through unique programs like this where together we can inspire youth to share in the Olympic City USA experience and grow and learn about leadership.”
Through additional supporting funds, the contribution from Children’s Colorado ensures that the program can sustain growth through the spring season.
“At Children’s Colorado, one of our primary goals is to keep kids healthy and out of the hospital,” said Margaret Sabin, president of Children’s Hospital Colorado’s Southern Region. “Doing so, requires the efforts of partnerships and programs in the community that help kids create healthy, life-long habits, which is why we are proud to support Gamechanger. This opportunity will help more kids stay active and outside and teach them how to build comradery and teamwork – all essential building blocks every child should have.”
The promotion, which originally launched January 2020, drove record registration numbers before being postponed due to the cancellation of spring and fall youth sports because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Youth sports is scheduled to go forward under the appropriate State-mandated protocols starting in March.
With the revamp of the program, the newly-opened U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum joins in to provide added benefit to youth sport participants in Olympic City USA. From January 5 to 10, all children wearing a youth sports jersey or able to produce their proof of registration will receive free admission at the door as part of a Youth Sports Week collaboration with the City of Colorado Springs.
Registration for pre-K-2 soccer opened Jan. 4, and can be completed via mail, walk in or online. While registration fees are waived for every method, online transactions carry a $3 processing fee.
Through a partnership with the National Inclusion Project, Youth Sports strives to offer opportunities for children of all abilities. Call (719) 385-6964 for details.