The State of Pure Game in 2020

Author: Adrian Beunder

Times are tough for all of us in the world, but Pure Game is motivated to keep growing and overcoming the current challenges by emerging stronger than ever with a revolution for youth Soccer in the U.S that will benefit how kids grow on and off the field in life.

We in the Pure Game family take pride in our philosophy of overcoming challenges growing and learning new skills to help us become champions of life. March 2020 would be the dawn of a new challenge that we would not have to face alone, but together as a team and a global society.

Pure Game lost almost all of its normal in-person programming where we thrive in our curriculum of inspiring kids to reach their full potential through the vehicle of the beautiful game of soccer. Sixty-five schools and 90 in-person programs would fall victim to COVID-19 leaving nearly 5,000 kids unable to receive the benefits of positive mentoring, Social and Emotional Learning (SEL), and physical activity that Pure Game offers.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has indicated that less than one-quarter of children 6 to 17 years of age participated in the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity per day prior to the pandemic. With COVID-19 keeping kids even more inactive, the risks of developing severe health problems, such as type 2 diabetes, lung and colon cancers, among many more cardiovascular issues when kids grow up are going to dramatically rise and the Pure Game team is aiming to curb that rise.

The Pure Game team is proud of how we’ve been able to craft a dynamic and engaging virtual program to try and curb that rise and keep kids active and having fun, but only 50% of our programs are taking advantage of this service. We do our best work in front of kids, so keeping staff engaged becomes as much of a challenge as keeping the children engaged, not to mention the knock-on effect of potentially losing employees due to funding.

Pure Game director, Tony Everett said the following on the fundraising efforts currently in place: “Fundraising efforts have been tough. Most of the school support funders have changed their focus of funds to the first response to COVID. We are looking at new ways to raise funds and go to market with some that are proving successful.”

As tough as the pandemic has been for Pure Game and every other organization out there, our philosophy of overcoming challenges and seeing the big picture has helped us find a silver lining. We’ve been forced to look at the market differently and pivot our strategies while holding onto the new developments of our amazing online curriculum programs.

Our affordable fee for service model that we’ve designed has given us the capability to generate a good deal of income that could help us be self-sustainable during this tough time. 

The Pure Game family plans to use the funds gained from this model to develop a radical revolution within the youth sports industry. Pure Game’s curriculum is designed around pivoting away from what Tony calls, “a stage that forces kids to perform for us and turns them into stressed-out, early sports career puppets for parents and coaches.” The current model for youth soccer puts too much pressure on young kids when they’re just trying to be active and have fun in the early stages of life.

That being said, we want to craft a system of youth-led, adult organized soccer that gives ownership of the child’s competitive input back into the kid and how they perceive their own sports lives. While doing this, we can also reduce the cost for families, create play equity for the kids, and provide a program that can really have kids socially, emotionally, and physically engaged in something they love doing.

“I believe this will have kids loving the game in a way we’ve never seen in the U.S,” says Tony.

Ultimately, the Pure Game family never sees a challenge as something that holds us back. We’ve taken COVID and used it to creatively design a new system that will be a great tool to do what we strive to instill in our youth; inspire and mentor them to achieve their potential and become the new young leaders, on and off the field that this country and our world so desperately needs in times like these.


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