Sounders FC and Regence BlueShield recently announced a new partnership on June 27, making Regence the club’s official health plan partner.
According to a joint press release from the two organizations, the multi-year deal is focused on community initiatives that aim to improve the physical health and total wellness for youth. The partnership highlights the long-term commitment of both Sounders FC and Regence to serving the Puget Sound region.
“When we at Sounders FC choose business partners, we look to companies that help us further our values,” said Sounders FC Majority Owner Adrian Hanauer. “With Regence, we are thrilled to be joining together to work on a variety of projects that will strengthen our commitment to ‘Defend the Right to Play,’ which is one of the core pillars of the club’s social justice framework.”
At all of the Sounders FC’s future home matches, Regence will be the title sponsor for the club’s Dream Team, the rotating group of youth who walk out with each team’s starting lineup for every match’s opening ceremony. The Regence Dream Team provides a chance for caregiver families and local youth soccer organizations to take part in the special walk-out tradition.
“For more than 100 years, Regence has been dedicated to the health of our communities,” said Jared Short, president and CEO of Regence health plans. “Sounders FC is a partner that shares this commitment, particularly in making sure local youth have a chance to learn the importance of physical activity and overall wellness so they can build healthy habits for a lifetime. We look forward to the creative initiatives Regence and Sounders FC will bring to the community.”
The new partnership also includes the introduction of Regence’s Corners for Community program. For every Sounders corner kick at home matches through the season, Regence will donate $500 to RAVE Foundation, the charitable arm of the Sounders team. Funds raised will be used to build a co-branded RAVE mini-pitch in a community of need.
Beyond the matchday elements, Sounders FC and Regence are focusing on community-focused projects on physical health and total wellness for the region’s youth, according to the organizations.
These projects include:
• “Behind the Shield” Youth Clinics – Youth in underserved communities can receive free, high-quality soccer training in a positive environment with an emphasis on total wellness. Total wellness is taught through off-the-pitch educational components designed to illustrate how different pieces – such as mental health, physical health, nutrition, perseverance and more –form a basis for overall wellness. Pilot clinics are being introduced in the Renton community this summer with a wider roll-out in 2024.
• “Behind the Shield” Field Trips – Sounders FC and Regence will use the new world-class Sounders FC Training Center at Longacres in Renton – set to open in 2024 – to host field trips for students in schools from underserved communities. While visiting, students will take part in specially designed programming supporting total health and wellness.
• MLS GO – Announced last month, MLS GO is Major League Soccer’s new recreational soccer program designed to increase participation and access for youth outside the existing soccer ecosystem. Powered by MLS, MLS GO engages with community organizations and local recreation programs to provide children ages 4-14 with a fun, affordable local soccer experience. Seattle is a pilot market, with Regence becoming Sounders FC’s official MLS GO partner.