"Soccer, in its purest form, is the most accessible and racially diverse team sport in the world. But American soccer is not. It’s disproportionately white and upper-middle-class."

– The Privilege of Play

Access & Resources

Think about your team.  Can you imagine the players that always arrive on time, with their equipment on and their ball pumped up? Next, can you imagine the players that are most likely to come ten minutes late, and have forgotten their water bottles? It’s easy to think about that first group as the most committed and hardest working while considering the second group lazy and forgetful.  But, if we take a closer look, there may be a bigger story to tell.

Inclusive coaching skills help us to create safe and welcoming environments for all players. But our teams don’t operate in a vacuum. Systemic racism and inequality in the world show up in our teams as barriers to access and limited resources. Taking antiracist action as a coach requires that we not only focus on the time we are with our players, but also consider who has access and what resources it takes to participate fully. 

The idea of this module is to debunk some of the untrue, unhelpful assumptions that we may hold about each other, and to start talking about who has access and resources in soccer and who doesn’t. By the end of the module, you and your team will have spent time examining your privileges, naming the barriers to access in soccer, and beginning a conversation about how systems in our country are set up to exclude some and boost others.

Key Coaching Points


In soccer, as in US society, increased access and resources are directly related to increased opportunity and better outcomes


Forms of interpersonal and systemic racism continue to create barriers to access and inequitable distribution of resources for players of color


A creative, collective effort integrating anti-racism is required to make US Soccer more equitable and inclusive for all participants

Coach Training: Key Resource

Sport for All, Play for Life: A Playbook to Get Every Kid in the Game from The Aspen Institute is a culmination of ideas from over 250 thought leaders that houses 8 key strategies to shape programs that impact the lives of youth. These strategies aim to ensure that all children by the age of 12 “have the ability, confidence, and desire to be physically active for life.”

Each strategy or “play” focuses on a specific sector related to youth programming and include specific steps and additional resources for people working in that sector. Please take time to explore the plays that are most relevant to your position.

The Playbook

Team Challenges

Stories from the Field

Access and Resources

In this challenge, players will draw on real-life examples from the soccer world to engage in meaningful discussion about the way access and resources create inequity in soccer



Four Levels of Racism

In this activity, players will complete a short reading that will inform them about four “levels” of racism and participate in activities to encourage their learning



Celebrating All Languages

In this challenge, teams will learn about the other languages spoken on their teams, communities, or among other teams they play by asking how to say different words in these languages



Bring it Home 

In this activity, teams will use this classic drill to create different advantages and disadvantages that prompt participants to think about access and resources




Celebrate All Kids

In this challenge, families from both teams will team up and cheer together on game day in order to celebrate the efforts of all players, win or lose



De-center and Re-center

This challenge is about learning how to run an equipment donation drive that benefits the recipient(s) and moves towards building a more equitable world


Stories from the Field

Identifying the Barriers

The Privilege of Play: Why the world’s game is a white game in the U.S.

  1. What are the barriers to access to organized youth soccer in the US addressed in this article?
  2. How does the story of Precious bring the daily realities of those barriers to life?

Debating Pay-to-Play

Alex Morgan says pay-to-play is hurting soccer in the US. Is she right?

  1. Do you agree with Alex Morgan’s argument about the pay to play model?
  2. Would free access to competitive soccer and a more inclusive recruiting process make professional US Soccer teams more competitive on the global stage?

Access by Design

Station Soccer Video

  1. How is Soccer in the Streets disrupting the pay to play model?
  2. Why is transportation so important to access and equity?
  3. Taking inspiration from Soccer in the Streets in Atlanta, what could be done in your community to increase access to soccer?