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Sounders Soccer Challenge unites families around love of the game

As the weeks at home begin to accumulate, many of us are seeking ways to mix things up in new and exciting ways - especially households with young ones. And with many welcomed days of sunshine dotting the calendar, getting outside to stay active has never been more appealing.

Savannah Scofield, a program manager at Zulily, was excited when her company came up with a way to work with Seattle’s beloved hometown soccer team by launching an interactive skills challenge with Seattle Sounders FC.

And as a mom, Scofield appreciates an initiative that can get the whole gang involved.

“As many families in our Seattle community and beyond stay at home,” Scofield said. “We at Zulily wanted to find a way to engage our community, along with our hometown team and 2019 MLS champs Sounders FC, that was fun and encouraged staying active.”

Since both organizations dedicate efforts to serving and entertaining families, she said they felt excited about finding ways participants can share newfound soccer skills with the online world. Throughout April, Sounders FC has been posting videos (that will remain posted indefinitely) featuring either a coach or first-team player. Each player (with help from family members) has shown off specific skills from juggling to hitting targets.

They then invite the social media community to join in on the action. Fans have been encouraged to attempt the tricks and later post their videos on Twitter, Instagram and/or Facebook (using the hashtag #SFCSkillsChallenge and tagging @Zulily, which offers the chance to win a shout-out video from a player and a Zulily Forever Green jersey prize pack).

“With families focusing on staying safe and healthy,” Scofield said, “One of the most important ways we can come together as a Seattle community is to play at home. As a mom, I know staying at home is the best thing me and my son can do right now – but it’s equally important to get some playtime in, to find joy in running around the house, take dance breaks and of course, playing some soccer—which is big in our household. My son sleeps with a stuffed Sounders FC ball every night.”

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“The Sounders and Zulily have always been passionate about community; it’s been an important piece of our partnership from the start and is vital to the club’s culture,” said Sounders FC President of Business Operations Peter Tomozawa. "In the current circumstances, we recognize the myriad difficulties being faced by all, from brand-new challenges to existing issues and inequities being magnified. That’s why we felt the Skills Challenge program was so needed at this moment, providing young fans and their families with something fun and engaging to look forward to, with skills to practice directly from their favorite Sounders players.”

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“Our focus is to encourage skills that can be practiced anywhere and with everyday items, appreciating that, especially now, access to space and specialty gear is limited. We hope that it encourages healthy activity and brings some smiles and laughter to families in a stressful time.”

Scofield echoed that sentiment.

“We hope everyone takes the chance to experience some levity with this program: to have a little fun, to celebrate what we can all do with a shared passion for sport and Seattle. Though we may be physically apart, by playing, we can come together," she said. “When I work from home, it is so important that I take 10-minute activity breaks to clear my head throughout the day. Though I sometimes will do yoga or stretching, I really enjoy putting on some music and getting in a dance break. At my house, we turn up music and get our entire family in on the action.”

On the Sounders website, families can find a variety of soccer activities to try with one another. What about those who don’t have a yard or are short on space?

“Don’t be afraid to get creative,” Scofield suggested. “Use hallways, the garage or even a corner of the living room as your play area.”

If you’re looking for items to add to your at-home adventures, check out Zulily’s Stay at Home Shop, which stocks goodies from hip workout gear to d├ęcor ideal for sprucing up your backyard space.