Our Game. Our Stories.
The essence of soccer is captured in the fact that it connects a wide variety of people in a dynamic way. As we celebrate our 20th anniversary, we are profiling 20 individuals who have made a significant impact on the game of soccer or who have been impacted by soccer in a positive way. Here, we will show you the diversity of the beautiful game and how it connects everyone as one universal team...Together, We Are Soccer.
This is our game and these are our stories. Be sure to visit our site every week to see who we feature next!
Executive Director, President’s Council of Fitness, Sports & Nutrition Shellie Pfohl was appointed by President Barack Obama in February 2010 to serve as Executive Director of the President's Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition. She manages the activities and operations of the Council and leads the Council's efforts related to First Lady Michelle Obama's national Let's Move! initiative to solve childhood obesity within a generation. A friend of the Foundation, Shellie attended and participated in the U.S. Soccer Foundation’s Soccer for Success showcase in 2011 in conjunction with MLS Cup.
Soccer is our favorite way to stay active. What’s yours?
I enjoy all sorts of activities: walking, cycling, skiing. Anything that is fun and provides a good workout at the same time.
Did you play soccer or other team sports as a kid?
I did not play soccer as a kid because it wasn’t offered in the Midwest when I was growing up. I played other team sports such as basketball, volleyball and softball. I learned so much from that experience that has served me well in my career and in life. Things like teamwork, leadership, hard work, perseverance. Still, I feel like I missed out not getting to play soccer!
Why do you think soccer is such a popular sport among youth?
Soccer brings youth together to work towards a common goal. Soccer creates early positive physical activity experiences for young people. Youth experience the love of movement, learn what it means to work as a team and create lifelong friendships. And whether they realize it or not, we all know that ACTIVE KIDS DO BETTER! They do better on the field, in the classroom and in LIFE!
We had the opportunity to meet the First Lady in 2010 when she launched her Let’s Move! initiative. Tell us about how Let’s Move! is using sports, like soccer, to make a positive impact in communities across the country.
When First Lady Michelle Obama led the Presidential Delegation to the 2012 Olympic Games in London, she encouraged kids to support Team USA by not only cheering for their favorite athletes, but by getting active
and playing sports themselves. Let’s Move! partnered with the U.S. Olympic Committee, as well as the national governing bodies of a variety of sports to help connect 1.7 million kids with athletic programming in their communities. The key message is that you don’t have to be an Olympian or a professional athlete to be active and healthy.
We were thrilled to have you join us in Los Angeles in 2011 for our Soccer for Success showcase. Can you discuss the need for youth programs, like Soccer for Success, in the fight against childhood obesity?
Youth programs like Soccer for Success are the only way for some of America’s most vulnerable youth to be active. Access and affordability are significant barriers to participation. However, all Americans should have an equal opportunity to live a healthy lifestyle that includes regular physical activity and good nutrition. For more information about the Council’s programs and initiatives, visit www.fitness.gov.
How can parents, teachers, coaches, etc. encourage kids to be active and healthy?
First and foremost, they can and should walk the walk. Being good, active role models for the youth in your life goes a long way. We hope that parents, teachers and coaches will help create early, positive experiences for kids and make physical activity part of their everyday lives. Ideally, they will sign up to become a Let’s Move! Active Schools champion as well! Find out how at www.letsmoveschools.org.