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MLS expands Audi partnership with youth academy initiative

Major League Soccer has expanded its partnership with Audi of America by launching a new youth academy support programme called “Audi Goals Drive Progress.”

The league-wide, multiyear initiative is designed to help provide funding for MLS academies through contributions toward player education, housing and transportation.

Audi kicked off the program by committing $5,000 for every goal scored during the July 31 MLS All Star Game against Atletico Madrid at Orlando’s Exploria Stadium.

The car manufacturer is committing up to $1m in total funds in 2019, with a series of bonuses for goals scored during the MLS regular season, the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs, and the MLS Cup final.

The winner of this year‘s Golden Boot – which recognizes the league’s top-scoring player of the regular season – will receive $1,000 per goal towards their club’s youth academy.

One MLS team will earn an additional $50,000 for its academy in an initiative designed to encourage fans to tag Audi in social-media posts when their teams score goals.

According to a press release, Audi has already committed more than $407,000 to academies across North America since the start of the 2019 MLS season through July 31.

Audi Performance Centers will also be introduced to select MLS academies. They will be equipped with a vast range of technology, tutorial and educational resources to help enrich off-field academic development. One of the first will be at Orlando City SC’s academy in late summer.

For the 2019 season, official media partners ESPN, Fox and Univision will offer dedicated broadcast and digital integrations to support awareness of the “Audi Goals Drive Progress” program, as will digital platform Copa90.

Audi has a wide-ranging partnership with MLS, which is now in its fifth year. Audi is the official automotive partner for MLS and presenting sponsor of the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs. The company is also the presenting sponsor of the MLS Cup MVP and the MLS Golden Boot award.

It also sponsors the Audi Player Index, which provides statistical analysis of MLS matches and is featured on the MLS website, social channels, and in broadcast.

The company holds naming rights to Audi Field, the new home of DC United, while it also has partnerships with 10 MLS clubs.