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News2024-01-22T16:51:44-08:00

GOAL is to graduate 10,000 kids by World Cup 2026

Get On The Bus: Creating a Better Future in Your Community

December 2, 2022 | By Cal North Soccer | IDA

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA (Nov. 30, 2022) – Meet Get On The Bus, Cal North’s Partner organization bringing the wonderful game of soccer to students at title one schools in hopes of creating a more equitable community here in Northern California and across the country. This giving season coincides with soccer’s biggest event, the World Cup. What better way to celebrate than by creating access to the future leaders of the game and our communities? We ponder how many players representing their respective countries this year started kicking the ball around with neighborhood friends and had the same drive as the children we aim to provide opportunities.

As we celebrate the successes of global unity and good sportsmanship this season, we are reminded why we partnered with the Get on the Bus program. Every child deserves their own world cup moment and to reap the benefits of this great game beyond the pitch. You may have heard that the World Cup is coming to the United States in 2026, and GOTB has a goal to reach 10,000 new participants by World Cup 2026! We hope Cal North can continue to expand the program for years to come.
Just this year, GOTB has been able to serve 168 children across the nation.

GOTB Soccer Graphic

Get On the Bus makes a difference and can change the course of a child’s life because of the commitment from schools, coaches, clubs, teammates, and donors like you. Consider a gift now so that it can be used to fund this opportunity for more children in 2023.

A key element of the GOTB program is the creation of equity. The high costs of soccer in the US created great inequities while upon further examination, it became apparent many families would require help to bring their child to an extracurricular, even if free. As such, the program seeks to address two layers of community inequities.

The first layer of challenges the program addresses involves:

  • access to mentorship
  • healthy food
  • after-school care
  • support and academic accountability

The second layer of challenges the program addresses:

  • access to consistent familial structures
  • health opportunity inequities
  • equitable community support for dual or single-working parents
  • long-term health habit development and positive health outcomes.

A day at GOTB

Get on the Bus is a stand-alone 501c3 headquartered in the state of Maryland and operating in chapters across the country. We are changing lives one participant at a time. With such a lofty goal of 10,000 participants by World Cup 2026 we are aggressively seeking funding opportunities. With your help we can reach our goal!

Please donate today.

$500 covers all costs for a player for a full season
$750 supports all snack costs for a GOTB team for a full season
$2500 supports all busing costs for a GOTB team for a full season
$5000 covers all costs for a GOTB team for a full season
$10,000 supports an entire school!

Get on the Bus Helping More and More Kids Experience the Joys of Soccer

by Dennis Miller / Pleasanton Weekly Uploaded: Thu, Dec 1, 2022, 5:11 pm
Article from Pleasanton Weekly

Tim Ryerson has put together a nice run working with and building youth soccer in the United States.

The Pleasanton resident and general manager of the Ballistic United Soccer Club also spent time in Maryland with the Ellicott City Soccer Club after graduating from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

Tim Ryerson

Tim Ryerson is the General Manager of Ballistic United and the founder of Get On The Bus. (Courtesy of Ballistic United)

He was helping grow the game of soccer, providing incredible opportunities for the youth of today, and combining not just soccer skills but life lessons as well.

But there was something missing.

“I was looking at areas of Maryland where I couldn’t reach kids,” Ryerson explained. “Either they couldn’t afford it, or they couldn’t get (to practice).”

From this came the idea for “Get on the Bus,” whose premise is straightforward.

Kids at targeted schools apply and are selected based on need and merit to receive, completely free to them:

* Homework help/study hall with certified teachers and paraeducators.

* A healthy snack and themed life lessons.

* Transportation by bus to and from the soccer field to participate in a recreational soccer program.

* Top-notch coaching by licensed youth coaches following U.S. Soccer age appropriate guidelines.

* All soccer apparel — jerseys, shorts, socks, shin guards, cleats, and a soccer ball!

Once again, all this is free for the kids.

The entire movement got a boost four years ago when the United States did not qualify for the 2018 World Cup. At that point U.S. Soccer was looking for a way to innovate to grow the game — how to find kids the game of soccer was not reaching.

U.S. Soccer created grants for youth organizations to get more kids into the sport.

Out of it came the growth of GOTB.

Ryerson’s vision came to life initially on the East Coast.

This was on target with what Ryerson was doing with GOTB and Ellicott City became the inaugural GOTB chapter.

“We piloted this in Maryland,” Ryerson said. “And it is still funded by Ellicott City members, sponsors, and partners.”

The Girls from the Pleasanton Rage/Get On The Bus team prepare for a game in the League America Festival. (Courtesy Cal North Youth Soccer)

With a solid pilot program successfully underway, it was next about getting grants from U.S. Soccer to launch the next one and spread the path for kids across the country to deserving youth.

What started as an idea from one club was about to blossom into an ever-growing movement to help children in need.

“Nevada was the first, then Northern California,” Ryerson said. “We now have nine across the country with six more planned.”

The main qualifier from U.S. Soccer was that the program had to be used at only Tier One schools. A Tier One school helps disadvantaged students meet state academic content and performance standards.

There happened to be one such school located on the campus of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Ryerson had played soccer for UNLV and his brother Rich was the head coach of the UNLV team at that time.

From there, with Ryerson involved in Ballistic, it was natural to find a Pleasanton school to become involved with GOTB. The lone Tier One school in Pleasanton is Valley View Elementary School.

The boys and girls from the Valley View Get On The Bus program get ready to march in the Opening Day Soccer Parade on Main Street in Pleasanton. (Courtesy Cal North Youth Soccer)

“This was supposed to go live with Valley View in the fall of 2020,” Ryerson said. “Then COVID hit, and it got canceled.”

Ryerson, through his partnerships with California Youth Soccer Association-North, Ballistic United and the Pleasanton Rage, kept the plans together and it finally launched this August.

The school, the families, and the students at Valley View embraced the program immediately.

“Oh my God — it has been a dream come true,” said Rosa Isela Torre, a Pleasanton Unified School District parent liaison that is assigned to Valley View. “We have been asking for something like this; the parents have been asking for their kids.”

Spend one Wednesday afternoon at Valley View watching the program, and it’s easy to see the impact. The smile the kids have during all parts of the program shows the need for something like GOTB.

“The kids know their routine every Wednesday,” said Torre. “They get the discipline and self-esteem to be part of the program.”

In this inaugural season for Valley View, the groups were comprised of fourth and fifth graders that had no formal soccer experience.

The students are selected by the school to participate.

There are a boys’ team and a girls’ team, with coaches coming from both Ballistic and the Rage. They come to the multipurpose room after school where they spend time getting help on their homework, followed by life lessons and skills, and of course nutritious snacks.

Homework and life lessons come from Torre and other volunteers. Following their time inside, the two teams head to the field for soccer practice, meeting up with the certified coaches.

The joy and excitement of the kids is evident — there wasn’t one student that didn’t have a smile on their face. It was about having fun while getting the chance to play organized soccer.

On Saturdays they play in recreational leagues of the respective clubs, and even competed in a tournament in October at the Ken Mercer Sports Park in Pleasanton.

Because everything took place at Valley View, there was no need for a bus service, but Ryerson found an event for the kids to “get on the bus”.

“We did get a bus and take 52 people to an Oakland Roots game,” Ryerson said, of the United Soccer League (USL) Championship Division team. “It was like a big field trip.”

Initially it was to be a fall-only program at Valley View, but it went over so well, the program was extended.

“All of the kids will play in the Winter Rec league, and we will cover all of it as well,” Ryerson said.

Ryerson’s group has grown GOTB nationwide with grants for the program being secured from U.S. Soccer for schools in Nevada, California, Connecticut, Tennessee and Oregon, with Ryerson looking to secure more and continue to build.

There are nine chapters right now, with six more, including Sacramento, Los Angeles and more in the Central Valley on the horizon.

“We have served 1,200 kids so far,” said Ryerson. “It has blown up since we came out of COVID. We have a goal of 10,000 by the 2026 World Cup, which is taking place in the United States, Canada and Mexico.”

As far as Pleasanton is concerned, Ryerson, BUSC and Rage want to expand to other schools in town, but with Valley View as the lone Tier One school, there will be no grants from U.S. Soccer.

Boys from the Valley View Get On The Bus program competed for Ballistic United in the 2022 USYS League America Festival in Pleasanton. (Courtesy of Cal North Youth Soccer)

Still, there remains a need.

“Everyone thinks Pleasanton is a town where people can afford anything,” Ryerson said. “But there are a lot of students and schools that could use the help.”

Which is why Ryerson and the GOTB program along with local partners like Ballistic and Pleasanton Rage are set on raising funds so more disadvantaged students in Pleasanton can be helped and given more of a chance to succeed.

It’s that helpful of a program.

There are a couple of other elementary schools targeted and perhaps one middle school. That leaves the two local youth soccer clubs to raise the funds for the much needed programs.

“The plan would be to get the kids that need this from other schools involved,” Ryerson said. “We would be able to pick them up from their schools and bus them to Valley View and back.”

Ballistic United board president Scott McMillin has been a proponent for getting new kids exposed to the program.

“We are working on raising the funds so other schools can participate,” McMillin said. “We want everyone to be able to play if they want to play, regardless of (skill) level or age.”

But it’s more than just donations the group needs.

“There are other ways to get involved, like even dropping off the snacks after school,” Ryerson said. “There is always something you can do to help.”

Those interested in donating or getting involved, check out the website at gotbsoccer.org.

The Ballistic United/Get On The Bus team poses for a team photo before a game in the League America Festival. (Courtesy of Cal North Youth Soccer)

Rich RyersonRich Ryerson Joins Soccer Based Youth Development Program “Get On The Bus” As National Business Development Director

“Covid halted the Get on the Bus Program, but the bus is rolling again, and Rich is jumping on with both feet! I couldn’t be more excited to have Rich along for the ride!”-Tim Ryerson Creator Get on the Bus

Ellicott City, MD  / January 12th, 2022 / Stand-alone 501c3, Get on the Bus announced today that former University of Nevada Head Coach of Men’s Soccer and savior of that program Rich Ryerson is joining the nationally acclaimed “Get On The Bus”  (GOTBsoccer.org) US youth soccer program that is aimed to remove the economic and transportation barriers that prevent some children from low-income families from participating in youth soccer.

About Rich Ryerson: Rich Ryerson will use his Master’s in Public Administration and MPS Certificate in Nonprofit Leadership to drive the Business Development arm, in order to enhance the impact and financial stability while intentionally helping to grow the program. Rich spent 10 years as UNLV Men’s coach, spearheading the effort to save the program from elimination due to state budget cuts in 2010. Rich secured and raised over $2.5 million dollars, earmarked specifically for the UNLV soccer program. Rich was instrumental in the creation of the 501c3 UNLV Rebel Soccer Foundation which will ensure the sustainability of both the Men’s and Women’s programs. Rich had a tremendous playing career and served as the Athletic Director at the Palm Valley School prior to UNLV. Rich has a passion for education and soccer and will use his experience to help reach the goal of serving 10,000 participants by World Cup 2026.

About Get on the Bus: A day in the FREE GOTB program runs as follows: at the end of the school day, GOTB players are met at their school by GOTB staff and given a healthy snack. Tutoring and homework help is available to all participants. Afterward, they are transported by bus to fields to participate in a recreational soccer program. The kids practice once a week and play in the recreational games on Saturdays. Funded by charitable donations, the program provides full uniform kits, including jerseys, shorts, socks, cleats, and a soccer ball, at no cost to players. All recreational program participation fees are waived for GOTB participants, resulting in a completely free program for the children.

“The GOTB players are receiving important experience and life lessons on and off the field through this program and being part of a team instills confidence and self-value in each player,” GOTB Executive Director Amanda Buckler wrote. “The parents and families of GOTB participants also benefit greatly from the program, coming to see their children play in real soccer games, in uniform, each Saturday, and being part of the local sports community that so many take for granted because the cost and transportation barriers so often are not noticed. Breaking down these barriers enables more of our community to be a part of the soccer experience.” For more information, email rich@gotbsoccer.org or visit: https://www.gotbsoccer.org

Exciting New Partnership Emerges Between Two Esteemed Soccer Organizations

Kwik Goal Recognizes “Get on the Bus” as Newest Community Partner

Quakertown PA – February 2020 – “Get on the Bus” (GOTB), a program dedicated to teaching life skills through soccer, and Kwik Goal, a company supplying the beautiful game with high-quality equipment, have struck a newfound partnership.

The partnership between the two organizations will focus on providing top-notch soccer goals and training equipment to targeted schools that GOTB will seek out based on need, as well as various other activation and branding opportunities for both parties involved.

Kwik Goal, a soccer equipment manufacturer based in Quakertown, PA, has spent the last near 40 years in business playing an active role in the development of soccer across the United States and beyond.

“We love getting the chance to support any program looking to help make soccer a vital part of kids’ lives

throughout our community”, said Tim hall, Director of Marketing for Kwik Goal. “We are excited to see how Get on the Bus and their dedicated team continue to grow this initiative and help them do that in any way we can.”

The program, “Get on the Bus”, was launched in spring of 2018 through the Ellicott City Soccer Club based in Maryland. 41 elementary school participants took part in this inaugural season which would go on to win the MSYSA Grassroots Futures Award, in turn earning the program extensive press coverage and attention from other organizations around the country.

Currently, GOTB provides free items to the selected participants which include: tutoring with certified teachers, healthy snacks and themed life lessons, transportation via bus to and from a local pitch to participate in a recreational soccer program, full soccer kit and much more.

“We are excited to partner with Kwik Goal, the official goal for soccer! This partnership will help us to reach our goal of serving 10,000 kids in the United States, Canada and Mexico by the World Cup 2026! We want to thank Kwik Goal for believing in our mission of breaking down financial and transportation barriers so that kids can play soccer on a team in their community, while also learning valuable life skills and good study habits through this free after school program. If you want to GET ON THE BUS and support our cause please contact tim@gotbsoccer.org or check out our website at gotbsoccer.org“, said Tim Ryerson-Creator of Get on the Bus.

U.S. SOCCER AWARDS RECORD $2.4 MILLION IN GRANT FUNDING THROUGH INNOVATE TO GROW IN 2020

U.S. SOCCER MEMBER ORGANIZATION’S GRASSROOTS PROJECTS EXPECTED TO IMPACT MORE THAN 37,000 PLAYERS, COACHES AND REFEREES OVER NEXT THREE YEARS

CHICAGO (Feb. 11, 2020) – In pursuit of the U.S. Soccer Federation’s mission to make soccer the preeminent sport in the United States, U.S. Soccer’s Board of Directors approved $2.4 million in 2020 Innovate to Grow Fund grants to 27 Federation Members whose innovative programs show promise in building the sport of soccer at the grassroots level.

The amount of funding awarded for 2020 is more than double the amount awarded for 2019.

Total grant applications also hit a record high in the program’s third year. U.S. Soccer received 53 applications from 38 Federation Members, totaling $6.7 million in funding requests.

U.S. Soccer approved $2,462,701 in the 2020 application cycle to support 27 projects, 17 of which will be implemented by first-time Innovate to Grow Fund recipients. By comparison, last year the Federation supported 17 projects and awarded $1,173,311 to member organizations. In its inaugural year, the Fund awarded $737,969 to 13 Member organizations.

Overall, 15 player programs were awarded $1.6 million in addition to eight coaching programs and four referee programs that received $478,982 and $362,958, respectively. The majority of 2020 grants (19) will invest in youth programs, while five adult programs and three programs affecting both adult and youth will also be supported by the Innovate to Grow Fund.

“The expansion of the Innovate to Grow program in its third year demonstrates the deep commitment of our member organizations to making our sport more accessible,” said U.S. Soccer President Carlos Cordeiro. “We couldn’t be prouder to partner with them to help grow the game in their communities.”

“In addition to the significant increase in applicants and awards granted, it’s important to highlight the diverse pool of winners, which include national organizations as well as youth, adult, and joint state associations,” Cordeiro added.

Recognizing the vital role that Federation Members play in the growth of soccer in the U.S., the Innovate to Grow Fund was established in 2017 to help U.S. Soccer member organizations launch new and innovative programs designed to grow participation in their markets. To be considered for grant funding, Members’ proposed programs must meet certain criteria as part of a comprehensive application process, including:

  • The program must be new and different from current efforts.
  • The program must demonstrate capability to grow participation.
  • The program must demonstrate potential to scale in other markets.
  • The program must align with U.S. Soccer Player Development Initiatives.
  • The member must also be financially invested in the program.

Members interested in learning more about Innovate to Grow grant funding can learn more by emailing ITGFund@ussoccer.org.

Following is a full list of the organizations and state associations were awarded 2019-2020 Innovate to Grow Fund grants:


Alabama Soccer Association
 (“Across Borders Recreation League”)
Cross-border U-9 to U-12 league with matches within 60 mi of member clubs.


Alaska State Youth Soccer Association
 (“Passing the Ball Program”)
Pop-up outreach program to remote areas including life lessons, and coaching and referee education and other support for communities wanting to start soccer programs.


Arizona Soccer Association
 (“ASA/Boys & Girls Club Phoenix Futsal”)
Establish futsal program with 13 Boys & Girls Clubs in Phoenix.


California State Soccer Association – South
 (“Cal South Referee Participation Initiative”)
Affiliate members refer a minimum of three new referees per year and Cal South provides all tools, education, and Grassroots certification.


California Youth Soccer Association – North / Connecticut Junior Soccer Association
 (“Get on the Bus”)
After-school program including a rec soccer league, tutoring, personal development, and free participation and transportation.


Florida State Soccer Association
 (“Soccer After Youth”)
Create new U-20 or U-23 divisions for players aging out of youth program as well as those who play in unaffiliated leagues.


Georgia State Soccer Association 
(“Community Clinics”)
Deliver monthly community clinics (through Atlanta United) in low-income Hispanic communities to connect them with high-level coaching, scouting, and integration with Georgia South.


Idaho Youth Soccer Association
 (“IYSA Referee Retention and Recruitment Initiative”)
Develop a Referee Advocate Program to improve retention of first- and second-year referees and improve recruitment of referees aged 19-40.


Illinois Youth Soccer Association
 (“College Women’s Coaching Initiative”)
Increase the number of female coaches by offering free coaching education on college campuses.


Iowa Soccer Association
 (“Coaching Education: Coaching for All Project”)
Target coaches from non-member programs and underserved populations for free Grassroots coaching education.


Massachusetts Adult State Soccer Association
 (“Lusa American-Cape Verdean Tournament”)
Host a Portuguese-Cape Verdean tournament with teams from MA and RI to showcase the benefits of affiliation and develop a cross-border league.


Minnesota Youth Soccer Association
 (“Referee-Coach Relationship”)
Provide training, equipment, and mentoring to youth soccer players and their parents to become referees.


New Mexico Youth Soccer Association
 (“ITG Non-traditional Soccer Growth Plan”)
Procure equipment to host community registration events and regional futsal tournaments.


North Carolina Youth Soccer Association
 (“Coaching Education Outreach Grow Program”)
Provide coaching education for unaffiliated organizations.


Oklahoma Soccer Association
 (“Life Changes and Wellness Soccer Outreach Program”)
Work with an after-school youth organization to introduce soccer to at-risk youth, with ultimate goal of establishing member club in community.


Oregon Youth Soccer Association
 (“Bridge the Gap”)
Outreach and support to underserved Latino communities with the goal of integrating Hispanic clubs and leagues into OYSA.


SAY Soccer 
(“Training Confident and Competent Youth Referees”)
Camp-based program to train teenage referees, held with player camps to give immediate practice.


South Texas Youth Soccer Association
 (“South Texas Club Accreditation”)
Provide organizational development support to member clubs, including resources and tools to improve club environments.


US Adult Soccer 
(“Building a Bridge”)
Partner with state associations to facilitate the transition from youth to adult soccer by providing three years of cost-free play and assistance in finding adult playing opportunities.


US Association of Blind Athletes
 (“Blind Soccer”)
Develop recreational 5-a-side soccer for youth and young adults, develop skilled coaches and provide infrastructure to build interest and participation in the sport.


US Club Soccer 
(“Coach Education Initiative for Current Players”)
Launch an accessible, comprehensive program to encourage and guide high school and college players into the coaching education pathway.


US Power Soccer 
(“Coaches Certification”)
Institute a training curriculum and annual training sessions for coaches.


Virginia/DC Youth Soccer Association 
(“Accelerating the Participation of Women in Coaching”)
Deliver Grassroots, D, and C courses for women and girls aged 16-plus at no cost to participants.


Washington Youth Soccer Association 
(“Atletico”)
Implement a competitive soccer program enabling underserved Latino youth players to participate in a high-level player development program.


Washington Youth Soccer Association 
(“Let Her Coach”)
Deliver Grassroots and D courses to women on college campuses.


Wisconsin Youth Soccer Association 
(“Female Coaching Education”)
Facilitate female-only coaching education (Grassroots and D) at no cost to participants.


Wyoming Soccer Association 
(“SOW Soccer”)
Outreach to the Wind River Indian Reservation, with the goal of lasting competitive programming and club membership.

GripstringsGripstrings, LLC (gripstrings.com) announced today a partnership between Gripstrings and the Ellicott City Soccer Club (ECSC) (ellicottcitysc.org), while extending support to the nationally acclaimed “Get On The Bus” (GOTBsoccer.org) US youth soccer program through ECSC as well.

Gripstrings will be assisting Ellicott City Soccer Club with their fundraising efforts by donating a portion of the proceeds from sales of yellow and black (ECSC colors) Gripstrings shoe laces. The proceeds from fundraising will assist with sending ECSC’s ’06 boys to Sweden for Gothia Cup in summer 2020. Proceeds will also benefit ECSC’s continuing partnership with GOTB, which seeks to remove the economic and transportation barriers that prevent some children from low-income families from participating in youth soccer.

About Gripstrings, LLC: Gripstrings, LLC was founded by Lance James. As a player, parent, and coach for many years, Lance watched adults and kids run down the field with their laces untied. Seeing this affect their performance and realizing the potential for injury inspired Lance to develop Gripstrings. Gripstrings’ patent-pending solution looks — at first glance — like an ordinary shoelace; but, in fact, it utilizes advanced technology that includes an extra tight weave for strength, and a proprietary silicone rubber coating. GripStrings will stay tied, even during the most rigorous play or long run. GripStrings come in two sizes and are perfect for sports, exercise, walking, working outside, or anywhere you have to be on your feet. “I am very happy that Ellicott City Soccer Club and Get On The Bus have chosen GripStrings LLC as a partner. Both are terrific organizations that do so much for kids and their communities. GripStrings is ecstatic and humbled to be a part of it.” -Lance James

For more information, visit: https://gripstrings.com

About Ellicott City Soccer Club: Ellicott City Soccer Club is a high-quality soccer club based in Howard County, Maryland that is dedicated to the healthy development of families through the game of soccer. Participating in local, regional, national and international tournaments, CiTY has over 30 travel teams and 350 recreational players throughout the year in various programs including a free Special Needs Clinic. QUOTE HERE ABOUT FROM EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR TIM RYERSON ABOUT PARTNERSHIP WITH GRIPSTRINGS

For more information, visit: https://ellicottcitysc.org

About Get on the Bus: A day in the GOTB program runs as follows: at the end of the school day, GOTB players are met at their school by GOTB staff and given a healthy snack. Tutoring and homework help is available to all participants. Afterwards, they are transported by bus to fields to participate in a recreational program. The kids practice once a week and play in the recreational games on Saturdays. At the end of the GOTB season, several program participants may be identified and placed on local travel teams at the club level in order to have the same opportunity to continue to participate at a higher level that others may have. Funded by charitable donations, the program provides full uniform kits, including jerseys, shorts, socks, cleats and a soccer ball, at no cost to players. All recreational program participation fees are waived for GOTB participants, resulting in a completely free program.

“The GOTB players are receiving important experience and life lessons on and off the field through this program and being part of a team instills confidence and self-value in each player,” GOTB Director of Operations Amanda Buckler wrote. “The parents and families of GOTB participants also benefit greatly from the program, coming to see their children play in real soccer games, in uniform, each Saturday, and being part of the local sports community that so many take for granted because the cost and transportation barriers so often are not noticed. Breaking down these barriers enables more of our community to be a part of the club soccer experience.” Through this partnership FutPost.com will enable 100 kids to participate in the program for free across the country including Denver and the Bay Area of Northern California.

Partners & Sponsors

Supporters of the GOTB Program

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