KANSAS CITY, Mo. – College soccer coaches, and their teams, from across the country are uniting in a fight against hunger during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Soccer United Against Hunger, powered by United Soccer Coaches, is a nationwide food drive spearheaded by NCAA Division I men’s and women’s soccer coaches. It will take place throughout the month of June to support food banks and food pantries across America.

Four Division I head coaches: Bob Warming, University of Nebraska at Omaha; Ray Reid, University of Connecticut; Becky Burleigh, University of Florida; and Brian Lee, Rice University came up with the idea when discussing how their programs and the men’s and women’s divisions could work together to assist their communities during the pandemic. The idea was sent to United Soccer Coaches’ 24 Division I men’s conference representatives and 36 women’s conference representatives and received unanimous approval.

“The staggering number of over 40,000,000 Americans need help right now. Families don’t have money for food because of COVID-19 unemployment, food pantries are overwhelmed, and some are running out of food,” Warming said in a statement. “Soccer is going to do something about that. We are proud to be the first sport in America to unite and help during the pandemic. The leaders of our over 500 NCAA Division I soccer teams are organizing food drives to help American families from going hungry. The men, women, boys, and girls who love soccer and have a heart for helping others in their community are joining us and are going to make a difference in the month of June. We are going to demonstrate that soccer can be more than a great sport to play and watch. We are leaders who care deeply about our community.”

Coaches and players in communities across the nation will be collecting food items and monetary donations to support their local food banks to help with food shortage problems created by the pandemic. Food banks and pantries have seen soaring need as nearly 40 million Americans applied for unemployment over the last 60 days, while simultaneously seeing a steep drop-off in cash and food donations.

“We’re excited to see our Division I college coaches lead this national effort,” United Soccer Coaches CEO Lynn Berling-Manuel said. “They’re asking their players to go back to their youth clubs to get them on board. And we’re asking coaches at all levels to join in. It’s a tremendous opportunity to help our communities in this time of need.”