Pepsi Commits $1 Million To Improve Access To Soccer In Underserved Communities

PURCHASE, N.Y., April 27, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — PepsiCo, Inc. (NASDAQ:PEP) today announced “Team of Champions,” a national purpose platform building upon its global UEFA Champions League partnership to provide the gift of the game to underserved communities. The $1 million commitment over three years will make actionable investments on and off the field to help create transformational change for Hispanic and Black communities across the United States through soccer.

Team of Champions” is supported by international soccer star Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez as he joins the PepsiCo athlete roster. In his first national effort partnering with Pepsi and Lay’s, he shares: “I’m proud to partner with Pepsi and Lay’s to bring the beautiful game to underserved communities across the country. From access to safe play, gear and equipment, to coaching and role models, ‘Team of Champions’ looks to remove barriers to the game that have become harder to move, particularly during the pandemic.” 

The “Team of Champions” features a “Starting Eleven” comprised of 11 local organizations in select cities across the U.S., including Los Angeles, Chicago, New York City, Detroit, Washington, D.C., Dallas, El Paso and Fort Lauderdale, that provide opportunities and access to the sport. PepsiCo donations to the 11 organizations composing this year’s “Team of Champions” aim to level the playing field with apparel and equipment like cleats and balls; field access; mentoring, coaching and education; and fan experiences.

“As one of the fastest-growing and unifying sports in the United States, we saw an opportunity to leverage our largest global platform – UEFA Champions League – and the game as a force for good,” said Esperanza Teasdale, VP & GM, Hispanic Business Unit, PepsiCo Beverages North America. “PepsiCo, along with our iconic brands Pepsi, Lay’s and Gatorade, is committed to making an impact in our Hispanic and Black communities. With ‘Team of Champions,’ we’re building upon decades of experience and commitment on and off the field to equalize access to the game and bring smiles and opportunity through soccer.”

“Team of Champions” is another step in PepsiCo’s Racial Equality Journey, which in 2020 saw the company announce commitments of more than $570 million over the next five years to lift up Black and Hispanic businesses and communities in the U.S. to address issues of inequality and create opportunity.

“Uniting people through soccer and sharing the joy of the game is something our brands like Lay’s, Pepsi and Gatorade have been doing for years. We’re excited to strengthen our presence and impact in the game, partnering with organizations to invest in Hispanic and Black soccer clubs, programs and businesses, with the ambition to drive long-term change and address systemic barriers in these underserved communities,” said Antonio Escalona, SVP & GM, Hispanic Business Unit, PepsiCo Foods North America.

In the lead up to the 2020-2021 UEFA Champions League final, PepsiCo will amplify community voices from the 11 organizations through a content series that will be distributed across broadcast, social and digital platforms to provide more visibility on the impact of each dollar donated. Soccer stars and cultural influencers including Santiago Muñoz and Jonathan González will support the program by sharing the stories behind the organizations within their home markets.

The PepsiCo “Team of Champions” 2021 “Starting Eleven” receiving funding this year includes:

  • ACCESS U Foundation (National): The ACCESS U Foundation is a non-profit organization designed to help rising Hispanic and Black players pursuing athletic soccer scholarship opportunities.
  • Atletico Santa Rosa (Santa Rosa, CA): Founded in 2003, Atletico Santa Rosa is a non-profit organization featuring more than 400 players across every age range. The club believes in a “No Player Left Behind” philosophy, which means that all players are encouraged to participate in a team regardless of skill level, economic status, age, size, gender or race.
  • Big Apple Youth Soccer (New York, NY): Big Apple Youth Soccer is the first Hispanic soccer organization to join the Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association. For over 20 years, the league has worked to support the local Hispanic community in New York City to create more opportunities for players, coaches and referees to have access to the beautiful game.
  • Chicago Champions Youth Soccer League (Chicago, IL): The Chicago Champions League was created to promote, foster and develop the game of soccer within the Chicago community. The league, which boasts more than 2,000 players, provides free participation for families who can’t afford their fees to make soccer affordable in their community.
  • Detroit City Football Club (Detroit, MI): Detroit City FC is committed to providing accessible playing opportunities for Detroit youth. The club offers a variety of programs to get involved in the beautiful game, from free clinics and soccer tots to competitive environments with affiliate clubs and the DCFC Academy program.
  • El Paso Soccer League (El Paso, TX): The El Paso Soccer League was created in 2005 as an affordable option for teams that couldn’t afford the high costs of surrounding leagues. The league provides an opportunity for adult and youth players to develop and grow within the community through athletic competitions.
  • Future Soccer Club (Washington, D.C.): The Future Soccer Club was founded to offer soccer to rising players regardless of their ability to pay and based solely on their love of the game. The club operates very affordable or free programs for boys and girls from ages U9-U19, focusing attention on underrepresented populations of youth soccer at the highest levels in the DMV Area.
  • Irving Amateur Soccer League (Dallas, TX): The Irving Amateur Soccer League is the oldest Hispanic league in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, drawing youth and adults for every season.
  • Lauderhill Lions Soccer Academy (Fort Lauderdale, FL): The Lauderhill Lions Soccer Academy is one of South Florida’s premier youth soccer clubs focused on preparing boys and girls to compete at the top level. The club also puts an emphasis on academics, with all participants needing to maintain good grades and positive behavior in the classroom.
  • Spartan Wolves (Los Angeles, CA): Spartan Wolves was founded to create an avenue for the development of youth players within inner cities, offering them an opportunity to have affordable access to high level skill development, training and education. The club puts an equal emphasis on athletics and education, offering consistent tutoring in academics and SAT prep for players within the club.
  • Tudela FC LA (Los Angeles, CA): Tudela FC LA is an all-girls soccer club created with the goal of offering the same level of training, access to facilities and attention to development as boys receive within the Los Angeles area. The club features a diverse and inclusive roster of players, and is committed to working with any girl, regardless of her family’s socio-economic situation.