SEATTLE – Sounders FC and Regence BlueShield today announced a new partnership, making Regence the club’s Official Health Plan Partner. 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. We’re excited to launch this partnership and continue to put our values into action.”
“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.”
As the Sounders FC Official Health Plan Partner, Regence will be immediately visible in the Sounders FC ecosystem on matchdays and other ways, starting at Saturday’s match vs. Houston Dynamo FC. The match celebrates RAVE Foundation, Sounders FC’s charitable partner that works alongside Sounders FC to “Defend the Right to Play,” – one of the four tenets of Sounders FC’s official social justice framework, which serves as the strategy screen that guides the club’s consistent actions, investments and impacts. Saturday’s game highlights the importance of free play and physical activity for youth and the work being done in the community to support these efforts.
Regence is the matchday sponsor of this annual Defend the Right to Play match, where a host of fun activities will give fans the chance to learn more about how RAVE Foundation supports free play and play equity throughout the state.
At all Sounders FC’s future home matches, Regence will also become 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.
The new partnership also includes the introduction of Regence’s Corners for Community program. For every Sounders FC corner kick at home matches through the season, Regence will donate $500 to RAVE Foundation, the charitable arm of Sounders FC. 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 will develop meaningful community-focused projects centered on physical health and total wellness for the region’s youth. 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.
All health and wellness programming supported by Sounders FC and Regence is being thoughtfully developed and tested to ensure maximum benefit and effectiveness. Community efforts are part of the ongoing and long-term commitment of Sounders FC and Regence to a strategic partnership that provides meaningful impact.
About Seattle Sounders FC
With a list of titles that includes the 2021-22 Concacaf Champions League – becoming the first and only Major League Soccer franchise to ever hold the continental crown – 2019 and 2016 MLS Cups, 2014 MLS Supporters' Shield and four Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup championships (2009, 2010, 2011, 2014), Sounders FC is Seattle's Major League Soccer franchise. The club received an MLS charter on November 13, 2007, and set a league record by qualifying for the MLS Cup Playoffs for 13 consecutive seasons. Sounders FC reached a milestone in 2016 as the franchise claimed its first MLS Cup championship, before earning its second title in 2019, hoisting the Philip F. Anschutz Trophy in front of a home crowd of 69,274 fans. Since the club's debut MLS season in 2009, Sounders FC has set the standard for soccer support in North America, leading the league in attendance for eight consecutive seasons (2009-2016) and routinely ranking in the top 30 in attendance among all professional teams internationally. Prior to joining MLS, the Seattle Sounders organization has been a part of the greater Seattle community and U.S. Soccer professional scene since 1974.
About Regence BlueShield
Regence BlueShield has been providing health care solutions to Washingtonians in select counties for more than a century. As a taxpaying nonprofit independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, Regence is part of a family of companies dedicated to transforming health care by delivering innovative products and services that change the way consumers nationwide experience health care. For more information, please visit regence.com, facebook.com/regenceblueshieldwa or twitter.com/regencewa.