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Houston 2026 World Cup Bid Committee Launches Freekicks Soccer Program

Dec 9, 2020

Freekicks Soccer Program

Inspired by Houston Texans star, DeAndre Hopkins,
supported by the iconic soccer club FC Bayern Munich,
and coordinated in partnership with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Houston

HOUSTON – Soccer is supposed to be inclusive and intended for everyone. But not everyone in Houston can participate in the joy of playing the “beautiful game” due to various socioeconomic issues.

With that in mind, the Houston 2026 World Cup Bid Committee is excited to announce the “Freekicks Soccer” program.

The “Freekicks Soccer” program was inspired by the Houston Texans star player, DeAndre Hopkins, who, from personal experience, has a strong understanding of this issue. DeAndre aims to provide more kids in Houston with the chance to play soccer.

In addition, one of the world’s most successful and biggest soccer clubs, FC Bayern, will share its coaching philosophy with the program’s coaches, giving youngsters a taste of how German World Cup winners like Thomas Müller learned their trade. The club is supporting the launch of the program to leave a legacy after their first-ever game in Texas against Real Madrid at NRG Stadium on Saturday, July 20.

I am excited to be a part of implementing a program like this, said Houston Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins. Exposure is everything. If we can expose these kids to the sport, which they may not have had otherwise, I believe we can really change the landscape of the game for the better.”

The “Freekicks Soccer” program intends to connect more kids with soccer by providing first-time participants, between 7-12 years of age, head-to-toe equipment, age-appropriate instruction and certified coaching in a fun and safe atmosphere – for FREE.

“The 2026 World Cup Bid Committee is focused on growing the game of soccer in our community,” said Houston 2026 World Cup Bid Committee president, Chris Canetti. “Freekicks Soccer will play a role in helping to grow the game in communities that may not have direct access to the sport. We aim to increase participation and provide the valuable benefits that are derived from playing soccer.”

Kids will get to experience an eight-week course with one 90-minute training session per week. Courses are offered in the fall, spring and summer at four different Greater Houston Boys & Girls Clubs locations to provide maximum accessibility.

“Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Houston is thrilled to be partnering with the World Cup Bid Committee and FC Bayern to implement the Freekicks program at our Clubs. At Boys and Girls Clubs, one of the ways we build great futures for kids is to give them access to experiences and activities that help them be good citizens and learn a healthy lifestyle,’’ said Kevin R. Hattery, President & CEO at Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Houston.

“Soccer is a great tool for character development, teaching life lessons and keeping kids active and fit. Bringing the World Cup to Houston would give our kids exposure to the sport at the highest level and we look forward to celebrating the success of the Houston bid and implementation of the program for our kids.’’

With 600 kids participating in eight 90-minutes sessions, the program will provide a combined 432,000 minutes of training time for these kids.

The Dynamo/Dash Youth Club will offer scholarships opportunities to players from “Freekicks Soccer” who excel and/or express a commitment to continue playing the game.

DeAndre will make seasonal appearances at the sessions. Houston Dynamo and Dash players will also make special appearances throughout the year.

And all the kids will be invited to attend an annual field trip to a Dynamo game at BBVA Compass Stadium. ###