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USYS Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Initiatives

US Youth Soccer (USYS) has taken firm action to establish and reaffirm their long-standing commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. These actions will strengthen USYS culture and foster an inclusive, bias-free and equitable community that enables all of its members to achieve their full potential on, and off, the field of play. Through specific, deliberate and meaningful actions and investment, USYS seeks to make soccer a sport where everyone feels welcomed, respected and part of the team.

To ensure that each member of USYS understands that the ideals of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion are essential to our organization, we ask that our members pledge to act off the field, how we do on the field; with a fierceness of character, determination, leadership, focus, passion and commitment to EVERY MEMBER OF THE TEAM.

As part of our commitment, USYS has assembled tools and resources to assist with further educating our community about the benefits and impact of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Together we can elevate the game we love for everyone.

For more information please contact the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee at:

Please share our resources linked below: 

US Youth Soccer Hispanic Heritage Month Webinar Presentation (10/14/21)

US Youth Soccer Women's Equality Day Webinar Presentation (08/25/21)

LGBTQ - Creating Inclusive Environments for Your Team Presentation (06/23/21)

LGBTQ - Creating Inclusive Environments for Your Team Video (06/23/21)

Addressing Discrimination in Youth Soccer Series - Awareness Presentation (06/18/21)

Addressing Discrimination in Youth Soccer Series - Awareness​ Video (06/18/21)

Soccer, Ramadan and the Muslim American Experience Webinar Video (5/6/21)

Soccer, Ramadan and the Muslim American Experience Webinar (4/30/21)

USYS Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Policy - English (10/30/20)

Política de Diversidad, Equidad e Inclusión de USYS (10/30/20)

US Youth Soccer Unity Statement and Pledge (10/14/20)

US Youth Soccer DECLARACIÓN DE UNIDAD (10/14/20)

US Youth Soccer Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Announcement (10/06/20)

Hugh Goodridge | Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee



Hugh is a Continuous Improvement Manager with diverse manufacturing and management experience across the globe. He also serves as 1st Vice President and State Cup Chairman for New York State West Youth Soccer Association. He has a passion for creating solutions to improve operational and organizational efficiencies. Hugh is married and the father of four children. His other interests include anything soccer related, travelling and Formula 1.


Mary Jane Bender | Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee



Mary Jane Bender was born in France and emigrated to the U.S. with her parents.  She grew up in an ethnically and racially diverse inner city community in Chicago, spoke three languages but not English, was called “DP” (Displaced Person) and experienced discrimination for being a foreigner, as a child conducted business and translated for her parents, and understands an immigrant experience.

She graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago with a degree in Biology that fostered her life-long interest in the wellness and safety of the participants.  Mary Jane started a manufacturing business with with her husband and then launched the Illinois Youth Soccer office in 1992.  She was named to the Illinois Hall of Fame.  

Her interest has always been to provide inclusive programming.  She ensured that the Girls ODP process was equivalent to the boys, using the same facilities, same procedures and involving high level coaches including women and foreign coaches who were excluded from the coaching network. In 1994, she established the free Illinois Youth Soccer Inner City Soccer Program for underserved players residing in the Chicago Housing Developments.  This evolved into the on-going US Soccer Foundation Soccer for Success (SFS) program in Chicago’s inner city elementary schools that provides free after-school soccer programming, coaching and referee courses to SFS participants.  In an effort to encourage women to choose careers in soccer, she has supported women-only coaching courses including the free grassroots courses that Illinois Youth Soccer is conducting for women at colleges.     


Andrea E. Garcia | Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee



Andrea E. Garcia is Associate Vice President of University Advancement at Touro University California and was recently selected to serve on the University’s Commission on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. Prior to her role at Touro, she was a reporter at the Daily Republic newspaper in Fairfield. In this position, she garnered several prestigious writing awards, including from the Associated Press and the California Nevada Publisher’s Association. Andrea is a Distinguished Alum of Solano College, a magna cum laude graduate of California State University, Sacramento, with a BA in Communication Studies and holds an MBA from Touro University with a concentration in Marketing. She is Chair of Leadership Vallejo; Chair of the Fairfield Suisun Chamber of Commerce; and Vice President of the Solano Community College Education Foundation. Andrea was also selected in October 2020 as a recipient for the Women of the Year Award by Congressman John Garamendi.


Tim McCoy | Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee



Tim McCoy is wrapping up his second decade at PA West Soccer. During that time, the association has implemented a variety of changes and initiatives, including a comprehensive player safety program and a coaching license requirement for all coaches. Mr. McCoy has served the US Youth Soccer family as a member of Leadership Development Symposium committee and commissioner of the Eastern Regional League. Over the years his public service has also included serving on Dormont Borough Council, Dormont Library Board, and working with a number of charities on benefit events including Easter Seals Society, March of Dimes, Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, Mel Blount Youth Home, and Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.


Nicole Arsenault | Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee



Nicole Arsenault grew up playing multiple sports through high school including soccer, basketball, volleyball, and track. She went on to attend Northwest Nazarene University, majoring in Secondary Education and playing soccer there. She is currently a US Soccer Coach Educator/Mentor. Her role at Idaho Youth Soccer is Technical and Education lead and Communications Director. She has been coaching for 20 years and is currently coaching soccer at Boise High School. She is the Technical lead for the Idaho Olympic Development Program. She facilitates the Women in Sport Chapter in Idaho and sits on the US Youth Soccer (USYS) Diversity and Equity Committee. She is a certified instructor/facilitator for the USYS TOPSoccer program. Additionally, she is a Certified Trainer for the Positive Coaching Alliance.


Jené Baclawski | Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee



Jené Baclawski currently serves as the Technical Director for South Texas Youth Soccer Association. She is the only female technical state lead in the country and prior to working for STX Soccer she was a college coach at the NCAA Division III level for over 10 years. In 2019, she was hired as at the Head Women’s Coach for the St. Kitts and Nevis National team and had the opportunity to lead the team to their first major international competition at the CONCACAF Olympic Qualifiers this past February. She continues to serve in this role for SKNFA and also as a National Instructor for U.S. Soccer. In addition, Jené is completing her doctorate in Sports Pedagogy and Kinesiology from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She is a former member of the U.S. Soccer Federations Diversity task force and has conducted research focused on gender equity in sports. In addition, she is an avid runner, daily dog walker and aspiring vegetarian.


Dr. Skye G. Arthur-Banning | Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee



Dr. Skye G. Arthur-Banning is an associate professor and emphases area coordinator of the Community recreation Sport and Camp Management are within PRTM. His primary research interests are centered around amateur sport and specifically sport development. Lately he has focused his work mainly on Adaptive sport and rehabilitation as well as sportsmanship and ethical behavior in sport. He has Co-authored a text book on Recreational Sport: Program Design, Delivery and Management, edited 2 other books; Youth Sport In America: The Most Important Issues in Youth Sports Today and Sports Global Influence: A Survey of Society and Culture in the Context of Sport in addition to publishing in a number of peer reviewed journals and mainstream media publications. He currently serves as the Head of Officials for the International Federation of CP Football, a Paralympic sport that includes individuals with Cerebral Palsy, Traumatic Brain Injury, Stroke or other neurological Impairments.


Margaret Domka | Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee



Margaret Domka is working on a PhD at Clemson University with her research focusing on mental health and sport and is the Executive Director of the nonprofit organization, the U.S. Center for Mental Health and Sport.

Prior to starting her PhD, she represented the USA on the FIFA referee panel from 2007-2016 and during that time was the only American referee selected for the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada, 2014 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Canada, and the 2012 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Japan. She is also a current referee for NCAA soccer, the International Federation of Cerebral Palsy Football (IFCPF) and the Special Olympics, and is a National Referee Coach and member of the Referee Advisory Committee for the Midwest Region of USYS.

She held the positions of education director, project manager, and editor for Referee Magazine and the National Association of Sports Officials and carried out one of the most comprehensive national surveys ever done collecting data from sports officials in all sports at all levels in order to better understand the avocation and how to encourage greater diversity in officiating.

Margaret is also a professional speaker and was a high school Spanish teacher for 14 years. In addition to her current PhD endeavors, Margaret earned an MS in Information Design and Strategy with a specialization in Data Science and Analytics from Northwestern University, an MS in Organizational Leadership and Administration from Concordia University Wisconsin, an AS in Front-End Web Development from Milwaukee Area Technical College, and a BS in English and Spanish from the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point.


Dr. Terry Eguaoje | Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee



Dr. Terry Eguaoje is the Technical Director of Coaching Education for Pennsylvania West Youth Soccer. Dr. Eguaoje served eight years in similar role for Mississippi Youth Soccer. He holds a lengthy list of coaching licenses and diplomas including USSF A License, UEFA A License, National Youth License, NSCAA Premier Diploma, USSF Goalkeeping License, among others. In addition to his work in coaching education at the state level, he is also a Instructor and Coach Educator for US Soccer Federation. He's the author of the book "Bridging the Gender Gap in Sports Leadership: An Evaluation of Female Soccer Coaches" and co-author of "Developing the Model Soccer Club; Understanding and Implementing Best Practices for Club Wellness".


Nicole Hercules | Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee



Nicole Hercules is the CEO of NHM Consulting and the President of the Rochester Soccer City League. She serves on the Section V Girls High School Committee and is the Rochester City Athletic Conference Coordinator. She serves as the first female Chair of the United Soccer Coaches Black Soccer Advocacy Group and also on their their Nominations and Elections Committee. Nicole also sits on the US Soccer Foundation’s Urban Soccer Symposium Committee. She is passionate about utilizing the power of soccer to develop and empower members of underserved communities to excel and grow. An advocate and expert in strategies for increasing soccer participation in these communities, she is committed to driving inclusion and diversity initiatives that make a transformative difference in the lives of soccer players. Nicole received a full Division I soccer scholarship to the University of Albany and served as Team Captain her senior year. She went on to play professional soccer and continues to give back to her community in Rochester, NY.


Felipe Mendez | Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee



Felipe Mendez joined the Bellevue School District in July 2018 as General Counsel. Prior to joining the district, Felipe was an associate with the Seattle law firm of Preg, O’Donnell and Gillett. Prior to private practice, Felipe was Deputy General Counsel at Tacoma School District, handling all aspects of school law, including labor and employment, federal and state regulatory compliance, harassment, intimidation and bullying, special education, discrimination claims, collective bargaining, investigations, hiring – and contract disputes. Felipe is married and the father of three children. His other interests include supporting youth engagement and volunteering with U.S. Soccer and U.S. Youth Soccer where he is President of Washington Youth Soccer Association.


Jess Nash | Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee



Jess Nash is the Director of Coaching – Youth Academy and Director of Program Outreach with Rush Wisconsin Soccer Club. She also currently serves as a Staff Coach for the Wisconsin Olympic Development Program. Prior to joining Rush Wisconsin in 2016, Nash served 5 years as an Age Group Coordinator with Bettendorf Soccer Association, while working at St. Ambrose University in the First and Second Year Experience Department, and also fulfilling duties as a Referee Assignor for the Quad Cities area. Nash was a four-year starter for the Buena Vista University women’s soccer team and currently holds a USSF ‘A-Youth’ Coaching License Candidate, holds her USSF Grassroots Instructor License, and resides in Madison, WI.


Jennifer Pfeiffer | Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee



Jennifer Pfeiffer is currently the Executive Director of Alabama Soccer Association. Jennifer is also a Grassroots Coaching Instructor, Grassroots Referee, and South Region Boys ODP Staff Coach. She has been involved with soccer since playing as a youth and has held many roles as a player, coach, referee, parent, and instructor to make a positive impact in growing the game we all love to play and watch.


Dave Robinson | Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee



Dave Robinson is chair of the USYS TOPSoccer Committee. TOPSoccer, an acronym that stands for The Outreach Program for Soccer, is USYS’ community-based recreational soccer program for children and adults with intellectual, emotional and/or physical disabilities that offers the opportunity to play soccer in a structured environment that is safe, fun, supportive and inclusive. Dave has run a local TOPSoccer program for his community for over 13 years. Professionally Dave works in the energy efficiency services industry selling turnkey equipment upgrade and replacement projects that pay for themselves with savings. A resident of Bradenton, FL, Dave is married to a pediatric occupational therapist and has three grown children.


Grace Schwanda | Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee



Grace Schwanda is a personal trainer who focuses on keeping people of all ages moving. She was the soccer referee trainer for the Wheaton IL Park District and strength and conditioning training coach for the Midwest HS girls soccer team before her move back to Grand Rapids MI in the summer of 2020. She has been a Physical Education methods teacher at the collegiate level, as well as a music educator in schools, college and churches. Grace has been a soccer referee since 1990 and remembers being the only woman in the West Michigan Soccer Officials Organization. Grace continues to strive to be inclusive of all people as she works for Equality and Justice in all aspects of her life.


Dan Woog | Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee



Dan Woog was one of the first openly gay high school coaches in the country. He is the longtime head coach at Staples High School (Westport, Conn.), one of the most successful programs in the nation. He founded United Soccer Coaches’ LGBTQ & Allies advocacy group, and is a member of the Advocacy Council. He is also a full-time freelance writer. His book “We Kick Balls: True Stories of the Youth Soccer Wars” is a memoir of his long career in the game. He is a member of the Connecticut Soccer Hall of Fame, and in 1991 was named NSCAA National Youth Coach of the Year.


Kathy Zolad | Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee



Kathy Zolad, of Newington, CT, has served as a visionary leader and volunteer in soccer for decades. Having started as a team manager of her children’s team, Kathy has progressed to serve on committees at almost every level of soccer. She is currently the National Chair of US Soccer Appeals Committee. The past Secretary of USYS, she continues to serve the organization as a member of several committees including the Credential Committee. She is a past President and Executive Director of Connecticut Junior Soccer Association. She has volunteered for the US Men’s and Women’s National Soccer team and has was a chair of the US Girls ODP. Kathy is a 2015 Inductee of Connecticut Soccer Hall of Fame. She remains passionate about providing opportunities for all to participate.


Becky Pagan | Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee





Briana Aguila | Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee





Caulbert Smith | Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee





Eloisa Alinkas-Borreguero | Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee





Jennifer Davis | Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee





Chris Webb | Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee



Chris Webb is currently Director of Operations and Event Management at US Youth. Prior to this, Chris served as the West Region Operations Coordinator and the League Manager for the Desert and Northwest Conferences. Before joining US Youth, Chris was the Director of Programs for Arizona Youth Soccer Association, where she was instrumental in creating the Arizona Premier League. Prior to her move to Arizona, Chris spent five years as the assistant coach at East Carolina University and served as the head coach at Elon University for three seasons. Chris graduated from Campbell University with a Masters of Education/Interdisciplinary Studies and from North Carolina Wesleyan College with a Bachelor’s of Arts in Justice and Public Policy. Chris has been inducted in the North Carolina Wesleyan Hall of Fame in 2009 for soccer, basketball, and her High School Hall of Fame for being an athlete in both Soccer and Basketball.


Yvette Saenz | Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee


Yvette_Staff_Photo_Edit_v1email -

Yvette has been with US Youth since May of 2017, and oversees all budgeting, finance, accounting, and human resource operations of the organization.  Prior to joining US Youth, Yvette held similar responsibilities with various companies in industries such as banking, health & wellness, advertising, manufacturing and non-profit.  She received her BBA in Accounting from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas and has been a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) for over 20 years.  She has two children and her hobbies include tennis, golf, and of course watching Dallas Cowboys football.


Tina Rincon | Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee





Louis Mateus | Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee