DURHAM, N.C. – Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC) and North Carolina FC Youth (NCFC Youth) have announced a new strategic partnership to foster youth leadership and strengthen local communities through athletics in the Triangle area.

Along with improved social, emotional, physical and cognitive skills, research in young students found that those who participated in vigorous physical activity did approximately 10% better in math, science, English, and social studies.1 By partnering with the largest soccer club in the state, Blue Cross NC is expanding healthy play opportunities for the next generation of future leaders.

“At Blue Cross NC, we know having the time and space to play is a key component of a healthy childhood,” said Reagan Greene, vice president of marketing and community engagement at Blue Cross NC. “By partnering with NCFC Youth, we’re able to encourage healthy lifestyles for young soccer players and their families across North Carolina.”

A major component of this partnership focuses on a shared commitment to cultivate diverse, inclusive and healthy communities. Blue Cross NC will support the following community outreach programs:

  • La Liga Del Sol: Alleviates financial, cultural and communication barriers to make youth soccer more accessible to a diverse make-up of players.
  • The Outreach Program for Soccer (TOPSoccer): Offers player development opportunities and peer mentoring for differently-abled athletes up to age 18.
  • Durham Police Athletic League (DPAL): Provides soccer opportunities to underserved communities while building healthy relationships between kids and law enforcement officers.

“NCFC Youth knows soccer provides benefits to participants that are greater than what is reflected in the box score. Players learn teamwork, self-confidence, social skills, leadership, and sportsmanship among many other traits, while also building a foundation to lead healthy lives” said Gary Buete, NCFC Youth CEO. “We are excited and grateful for our partnership with Blue Cross NC who shares our vision of a healthier community and supports our ability to expand opportunities and access to the game and benefits playing can have.”

Each season, Blue Cross NC and NCFC Youth will also celebrate outstanding players with the Shield Award. The award will be given to one player from each team who embodies NCFC Youth’s core values of fun, community, excellence, innovation and passion on and off the soccer field.

About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina:

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC) is committed to making health care better, simpler and more affordable. We have been driving better health in North Carolina since 1933, working to tackle our communities’ greatest health challenges. Blue Cross NC serves its customers and communities of more than 4.2 million members, including approximately 1.1 million on behalf of other Blue Plans. Blue Cross NC is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Visit Blue Cross NC online at bluecrossnc.com. All other marks are the property of their respective owners.

About NCFC Youth:

Founded in 1974, North Carolina FC Youth is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization based in Raleigh, NC committed to providing positive, high quality soccer opportunities at all levels of play for youth and their families and to serving as a valuable community partner. With more than 13,500 players and 1,000 coaches, it is the largest club in North Carolina offering a full spectrum of soccer programs including recreation, youth academy, challenge, classic, Elite Clubs National League, community outreach programs, and tournaments. Through innovative soccer programming, player development opportunities, and a focus on coaching education, NCFC Youth creates an environment for both players and coaches alike to grow on and off the field. For more information, visit www.NCFCYouth.com.


[1] Effect of Physical Education and Activity Levels on Academic Achievement in Children, Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 2006