Five for STRIVE

NCYS and AIG are proud to present the STRIVE Award for Organization of the Year. This award recognizes organizations implementing promising practices and policies to protect young athletes.

This award praises organizations’ commitment to young athletes’ health, wellness and safety. It demonstrates that Sports can Teach Respect, Initiative, Values and Excellence without compromising safety.

Promising practices may include background screening for employees, contractors and volunteers, head injury and concussion education, baseline testing, nutrition and hydration, facility and equipment maintenance and response to injuries, etc.

Voting Rules

Thank you for your interest in the Five for STRIVE.  The general public will be able to vote for their favorite finalist. Cast your vote on this page by clicking on the “vote” button next to one of the Five for STRIVE finalists.

  • You may vote for your favorite finalist as many times as you’d like. However, you may vote only once per day.
  • Online voting will conclude on December 12, 2019, at 5 p.m. EST.
  • Votes sent outside of the designated voting dates and times will not be counted.
  • Online voting results will be combined with the judges’ scores to determine the 2019 STRIVE Organization of the Year.
  • NCYS reserves the right to disqualify any vote if it is determined that the voter attempted to undermine the spirit of the competition.

ABC Park Youth Sportsentries so far: 615

ABC Park Youth Sports i s a demonstration of how community-minded people can make a difference. A group of grass-root volunteers looked at their local park and saw broken glass, used drug needles, drug dealing and prostitution. Young people were forced from the park to play in the streets. With the support of a coalition between local police, businesses, a new park was redesigned as a safe zone for 5-18-year-olds for both organized and spontaneous play.

ABC Park is the only supervised recreation and youth sports program offered in the third most dangerous zip code in the United States. This community has the most negative indicators including educational attainment, crime levels, drop-out rates, drug use and homelessness in Maryland. The program impacts some 1,500 youth and 750 adults from the embattled West Baltimore community on an annual basis.
All sports participants are afforded health screenings by local healthcare professionals. New football equipment has been donated replacing old and outdated equipment for youngsters who live in a community where the median income is $27,000. A bike safety program was established by the Baltimore Police Department. To ensure participant safety, all staff and volunteers are required to have background screens.

The City of Baltimore just completed a $1.4 million refurbishment project at the park that includes a refurbished basketball court, rebuilt baseball/softball field, strength conditioning equipment, a new office building and a new playground replacing the damaged, unsafe equipment formerly in place.

National Recreation Foundation has adopted the program and ensures ongoing professional development training for the program's director and also provides technical assistance and financial support. The National Recreation & Parks Association adopted ABC Park as the beneficiary of their signature "Park Build" initiative (one site selected annually). Through Park Build, equipment vendors donated significant products to replace the worn, damaged and dated equipment formerly in place. The impactful work at ABC Park has also been recognized by the NFL Alumni Association.

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Babe Ruth Leagueentries so far: 1280

Babe Ruth League, one of the largest youth baseball and softball organizations in the country, serves more than one million players on 60,000 teams in 11,000 leagues. Babe Ruth League, Inc., a non-profit, educational organization, named after one of the greatest baseball players of all-time – George Herman "Babe" Ruth – has come a long way since its modest start over 60 years ago.

Babe Ruth Baseball has increased steadily from its first 10-team league in Hamilton Township, New Jersey, to its present size of more than 1.9 million volunteers. The Babe Ruth League added a Softball Division for players 4 to 18 years of age in 1982 because it saw a need for a quality national softball program designed to focus on all ability levels of young female athletes, providing them with the same athletic experience as the baseball divisions.

Another historic event happened in 2018 with the passage of the Safe Sport Act. The Babe Ruth League began researching solutions to increase its efforts to keep athletes safe while ensuring compliance with Act.

The League partnered with SportsEngine to provide a complete safety solution that included comprehensive background checks through SportsEngine's partner, NCSI, and Abuse Prevention Training that fulfills the requirement set forth by the Safe Sport Act. The league provides awareness and prevention training has mandated reporting processes in place. The Babe Ruth League has provided additional resources, tools and content to help educate its members on the importance of implementing a safety program and nuances between discount and comprehensive background checks. It was a huge investment in time and resources but one the organization believed wholeheartedly in making. They’ve worked tirelessly to evangelize to their members that implementing the safety program is just as important as an investment as equipment and facilities.

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CoachSafely Foundationentries so far: 121

CoachSafely Foundation

In Alabama, they know a thing or two about winning. However, the state recently became a champion in a distinguished area beyond college football. In 2018, Alabama became the first state to pass a law requiring youth coaches of athletes aged 14 and under to complete a broad-based training course in injury recognition and prevention thanks to the efforts of the non-profit CoachSafely Foundation. Many other states have started tracking the landmark Coach Safely Act as a model for similar legislation.

The Foundation developed the Coach Safely training course, which is evidence-based, peer-reviewed and comprehensive to include the injury recognition and prevention categories defined in the Coach Safely Act including:

• Emergency preparedness, planning and rehearsal for traumatic injuries
• Concussions and head trauma
• Heat and extreme weather-related injury familiarization
• Physical conditioning and training equipment usage
• Heart defects and abnormalities leading to sudden cardiac death
• Overuse injuries and
• The emotional health of the Child-Athlete

The course can be taken online or in-person. The CoachSafely Foundation has entered into a joint venture with the Alabama Recreation and Parks Foundation to have the Alabama Recreation and Parks Association distribute the Coach Safely training course at no charge to youth coaches throughout the state. Through September of 2019, thanks to the ARPA/CoachSafely Initiative, the training course has been delivered to 15,000 youth coaches in Alabama. The Foundation also has developed and maintains an accessible database of coaches who have completed the Coach Safely training course. For more information, go to

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United States Youth Soccer Association Inc.entries so far: 656

US Youth Soccer was formed in 1974 with some 100,000 registered players and has exploded to more than 3,000,000 players between the ages of five and 19. US Youth Soccer, the largest member of the United States Soccer Federation, is comprised of more than 600,000 volunteers and administrators and some 300,000 dedicated coaches. Most coaches are volunteers. US Youth Soccer promotes age-appropriate play with recreational and small-sided games. These programs emphasize fun and de-emphasize winning at all costs. Every child is guaranteed playing time. Games are taught in a fun and enjoyable atmosphere.

The three most recent health and safety initiatives that US Youth Soccer has implemented are:

• Implementation of an Athlete Incident Management System (AIMS) which is a mobile, real-time injury reporting and tracking tool designed to streamline return-to-play protocol communications. This is provided at no cost to all members of US Youth Soccer. This aggregated injury data helps inform decision-making designed and improves player safety.
• Passage of its most comprehensive risk management policies to date which requires all members to conduct background screenings, successfully complete abuse awareness and prevention training and concussion education. All interactions between adults and minor athletes must be observable and interruptible.
• Piloting an in-school physical activity program that uses soccer to develop the five core competencies of Social and Emotional Learning (SEL). Following the successful pilot, the in-school physical activity program will be provided to all Member State Associations, along with funding, to be implemented in the various elementary schools (grades 3, 4 and 5) within their jurisdictions.

Additionally, US Youth Soccer and its Member State Associations provide opportunities for those with mental or physical disabilities through its TOPSoccer initiative. Access is made for those who live in urban, rural or under-served communities through its Soccer Across America effort.

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US Club Soccerentries so far: 1068

US Club Soccer, a National Association member of the U.S. Soccer Federation, is committed to fostering the growth and development of soccer clubs to create the best possible development environment for players of all ages. Anchored by Players First and its five pillars of Club Development, Coaching Development, Player Development, Parent Engagement & Education and Player Health & Safety, US Club Soccer offers registration, league- and cup-based competition platforms, player identification and a variety of other programming, resources and services.

US Club Soccer considers Player Health & Safety to be its most important responsibility. Digitally, US Club Soccer has a robust safety web page that aggregates the latest initiatives, mandates and resources to help members achieve the safest environment for youth participants and their parents. The organization has also aligned with industry leaders to provide guidelines, precautions and periodization recommendations, such as 11+, Beyond Pulse, Fit for 90, Positive Coaching Alliance, Player's Health and Sideline Sports Doc. These solutions provide coaches with information on player injuries, guidelines for preventative treatment and protocols for return-to-play measures.

US Club Soccer significantly raised its standards by requiring the completion of a Sideline Sports Doc online injury recognition course. US Club Soccer also added a requirement of all coaches and staff registering with US Club Soccer – of which there are about 70,000 total staff members – to complete online SafeSport training.

Sideline Sports Doc trains coaches how to appropriately respond to injuries because often, the most critical time after an injury is immediately following the incident. The online course includes these six chapters: 1) The SAFE Method – initial evaluation of an on-field injury, 2) ankle and foot injuries, 3) concussions, 4) fractures, 5) heat illness and 6) knee injuries. It is kept up to date on medical mandates, response protocols and best practices.

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