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8/23/2018 11:00:00 AM
Toronto FC and MLSE Foundation, in partnership with Kia Canada Inc., officially launched the seventh season of KickStart at BMO Training Ground on Wednesday. KickStart is a free ten-week soccer program for more than 300 youth from across Toronto. Participants from 12 Toronto Community Housing neighbourhoods had the exciting opportunity to learn directly from the pros of Toronto FC’s first team who were in attendance to celebrate the launch.         
“We look forward to the seventh season of our KickStart program creating amazing opportunities on the pitch for both the youth and the community coaches that are employed through this program,” said Bridgette Estrela, Director of Partnerships and Programs at MLSE Foundation. “With the support of our partners, the program will continue to provide access to quality sport experiences while also inspiring youth to increase physical activity and confidence through sport.”
Since 2012, KickStart has benefitted 2,000 kids through the program and has also trained and provided employment opportunities for more than 250 community coaches. MLSE Foundation has committed more than $600,000 to the program over seven years, with $100,000 committed to the 2018 program. This year, KickStart programs will be held in 12 Toronto Community Housing neighbourhoods from August to October.
“KickStart is an outstanding program that brings fun and learning to kids and supports vibrant communities,” said Toronto Community Housing President and CEO Kathy Milsom. “Toronto Community Housing thanks MLSE Foundation, Toronto FC and Kia Canada for supporting KickStart, which will help hundreds of kids build both soccer skills and their self-esteem as they enter the school year.”
KickStart programs focus on using sport as a tool to engage youth and their families while also aiming to promote skill-building, community-building and healthy active living. Program participants will meet three times weekly for practices, drills and friendly games. Funded by MLSE Foundation and Kia Canada Inc., each host community will be outfitted with equipment, uniforms, activity booklets and coaching manuals. Coaches are hired from within each site to facilitate community mentorships that continue long after the program has ended.

“The confidence, friendships and life lessons that sports provide can have a profound impact on a young person’s life as well as the communities that they play in,” said Ted Lancaster, VP & COO, Kia Canada Inc. “Kia shares a strong belief that teamwork and community are the foundation for future success so we are once again excited to help the next generation play, learn and grow together.”
For more information about KickStart, please visit http://www.mlsefoundation.org/
About MLSE Foundation: 
MLSE Foundation believes all kids should have access to sport and the opportunity to develop lasting dreams on the playing field. With the support of MLSE’s teams, MLSE Foundation funds the refurbishments of local athletic facilities and funds charities that support kids through sports and recreational programs. Since launching in December 2009, MLSE Foundation has invested more than $30 million into our community. For more information visit mlsefoundation.org and follow @MLSEFoundation on TwitterInstagram and Facebook.
About Kia Canada Inc.:
Kia Canada Inc. (www.kia.cawww.facebook.com/kiacanada), a maker of quality vehicles for the young-at-heart is a subsidiary of Kia Motors Corporation (KMC) which was founded in 1999 and sells and services high quality, class leading vehicles like the Soul, Forte, Optima and Sorento through a network of 192 dealers nationwide. Kia Canada Inc. employs 154 people in its Mississauga, Ontario headquarters and three regional offices across Canada, including a state-of-the-art facility in Montreal. Kia’s brand slogan "The Power to Surprise" represents the company's global commitment to surprise the world by providing exciting & inspiring experiences that go beyond expectations.
About Toronto Community Housing:
Toronto Community Housing is Canada's largest social housing provider. We are owned by the City of Toronto and provide homes for nearly 60,000 low- and moderate-income households in more than 100 of the city’s neighbourhoods. Our 2,100 buildings represent a $10-billion public asset. 
Media Contacts:
Nikk Kadbet, MLSE, Nikk.Kadbet@mlse.com, (647) 919-6455
Anthony Cozzetto, Toronto FC, ACozzetto@TorontoFC.ca, (416) 371-9398
Daniele Gauvin, Toronto Community Housing, Daniele.Gauvin@torontohousing.ca, (647) 881-5093
Mark James, Kia Canada Inc., mjames@kia.ca, (905) 755-6251