KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The COVID-19 pandemic has affected people around the world, including members of the American soccer community.

In response, the United Soccer Coaches Foundation, supported by the organization’s board of directors, announced Tuesday the Foundation Membership Support program.

Through the program, United Soccer Coaches members who are experiencing financial hardship as a direct result of the pandemic can apply for assistance from the foundation to pay their membership dues for the coming year.

“On behalf of the foundation committee, I want to thank the 26 United Soccer Coaches endowed funds. Their support, along with gifts from Past Presidents, Honor Award recipients, Hall of Fame members, and a legacy gift from former Executive Director Jim Sheldon will enable the Foundation to support members who are experiencing financial difficulties as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” foundation committee chair Jeff Vennell said in a statement. “The goal is to raise sufficient funds to support 500 memberships.”

In the event that there are more qualifying applications than the foundation can support through the membership support efforts, all applications will go into a lottery with recipients selected at random until all the designated funds have been allocated.

“The team effort across all United Soccer Coaches committees, the Board of Directors, and the national office staff, to provide meaningful and valuable services to the membership during the COVID-19 pandemic is a source of great pride,” United Soccer Coaches president Kevin Sims said in a statement in a press release. “This foundation committee initiative is especially heartening. Supporting members is priority number one. We are STRONGER UNITED!”

Members can submit their applications for support now through midnight on October 2, 2020. Applications can be found HERE.

“This is about coaches helping coaches through a difficult time,” United Soccer Coaches CEO Lynn Berling-Manuel said. “Many have seen their jobs cut back or eliminated as soccer seasons have been delayed and canceled due to COVID-19. I’m incredibly proud of our Foundation for supporting our members in this practical way.”