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Major League Soccer and U.S. Soccer Partner with Headspace in Multi-Year Deal

Innovative Partnership Demonstrates Commitment to Being a Global
Leader in Total Wellness by Providing Best-in-Class Resources for Soccer
Players and Coaches

SANTA MONICA, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Major League Soccer (MLS) and U.S. Soccer today announced a three-year
partnership with Headspace, one of the world’s leading meditation and
mindfulness apps.

Headspace will annually provide thousands of app subscriptions to ensure
all U.S. Soccer and MLS athletes, coaches, and league and club staff
have access to strengthen their mindfulness and meditation skills. This
partnership illustrates U.S. Soccer and MLS’ commitment to being at the
forefront of total wellness by providing athletes with the best mental
skills training resources.

As part of the deal, Headspace will conduct in-person introductory
training sessions with U.S. Soccer and MLS athletes and coaches, led by
Headspace co-founder Andy Puddicombe, and the company’s Head of Sports
and Fitness, Lindsay Shaffer. Training sessions will take place during
U.S. Men’s and Women’s National Team training camps and at various MLS
events.

“MLS is committed to leveraging cutting-edge technology to enhance the
overall total wellness of our athletes, coaches and staff members,” said
Dr. Margot Putukian, MLS Chief Medical Officer. “The Headspace app
provides top-line meditation training and is a wonderful supplement to
the preexisting health and wellness resources the league and our clubs
already provide. We look forward to members of the soccer community
utilizing the Headspace app to advance their mindfulness skills to help
them achieve their goals both on and off the field.”

Headspace is also creating a personalized training program for each
individual athlete on the U.S. Women’s National Team to support their
preparation on the journey to this summer’s tournament in France. The
U.S. Women’s National Team is the defending World Champion and is
currently ranked No. 1 in the world.

“We are extremely excited to partner with Headspace, the world leader in
mindfulness and meditation,” said James Bunce, U.S. Soccer Director of
High Performance. “Not only will this partnership help all of our
players’ performance on-the-field, but it will also have significant
impact on their wellness off-the-field. While the importance of soccer’s
physical components are well-known and well-trained, the power of mental
conditioning in soccer has often been underutilized. Through this
partnership with Headspace, we now have the expertise and technology to
ensure that all of our players’ needs are being supported as they work
towards their goals.

“We are also extremely excited to work closely with the Headspace
development team and the U.S. Women’s National Team to individually
support every player on the road to France. With this project, each
player will be provided an individually-tailored mindfulness and
meditation program to help make sure that no stone is left unturned in
these players’ preparation for this summer’s tournament.”

U.S. Soccer’s partnership with Headspace further demonstrates the
Federation’s commitment to making soccer the preeminent sport in the
United States, using innovation, science and technology to provide the
best possible training environment for its athletes. In addition to
partnering with Headspace, U.S. Soccer created the High Performance
Department and hired full-time staff dedicated to the Men’s and Women’s
National Teams. The organization also partnered with StatSports for
comprehensive physical data collection, and has implemented initiatives
such as bio-banding to support long term player development.

“We know that mental preparation is as important as physical preparation
for elite athletes,” said U.S. Women’s National Team head coach Jill
Ellis. “We are excited that Headspace has partnered with U.S. Soccer to
provide the players another tool to help them perform at their highest
levels heading into, and through the tournament this summer.”

MLS, U.S. Soccer and Headspace will also explore scientific research
opportunities around the benefits of meditation and mindfulness related
to key aspects of performance. Additionally, they will have the
opportunity to co-create mental training content specific to soccer with
leading physical and mental performance experts.

“While athletes go to great lengths to physically train their bodies,
the mind is often neglected. Mental training is the future of sport, and
meditation and mindfulness are proven techniques to improve mental
fitness. We are thrilled to provide Headspace as the mental training
tool to some of the world’s greatest athletes, helping them to achieve
their performance goals, support their overall health and happiness, and
work with U.S. Soccer and the MLS to create a future of sport in which
athletes focus as much on training their minds as they do their bodies,”
said Lindsay Shaffer, Head of Sports and Fitness at Headspace.

MLS and U.S. Soccer athletes and coaching staff will have access to
Headspace’s comprehensive library of meditation content, including
“Headspace for Sport,” which is designed to strengthen their mindfulness
and meditation skills through a variety of 10-session “packs,” including
Motivation, Concentration, Training, Competition, Communication,
Analysis and Recovery.

Meditation and mindfulness are scientifically proven to support key
aspects of preparation, performance, and recovery. When it comes to
performance, mindfulness helps athletes stay focused, free from
distraction, and ensure they are in the optimal flow state. In recovery,
mindfulness can be used to induce the relaxation response, lowering the
heart rate, relaxing the muscles, and counteracting the harmful effects
of stress on the body. This ensures athletes have the ability to recover
that much quicker, and often has the added benefit of improving sleep
quality. Meditation also increases the grey matter in the prefrontal
cortex of the brain, which is responsible for focus, and decreases grey
matter in the amygdala, the area of the brain responsible for stress and
fear.

Mindfulness training is an additional resource to a person’s overall
total wellness regimen. For assessment and management of psychological
issues, treatment from a licensed healthcare professional is advised.
For more information on the Headspace app, visit www.headspace.com.

About Headspace:

Headspace
was created with one mission in mind: to improve the health and
happiness of the world. To help us achieve our mission, we aim to
inspire, guide and support our members every step of their meditation
and mindfulness journey, reaching nearly 45 million users in 190
countries. The company also operates a B2B business to offer its
meditation products and services to more than 350 companies, such as
Google and LinkedIn, to help them build healthier, more productive
cultures and higher performing organizations. Headspace’s partnerships
team has forged robust relationships with many of the world’s most
recognizable brands, including Apple, Amazon, Google, Nike, NBA and
more. In 2018, Headspace was featured as part of Apple’s #Bestof2018:
trends of the year on the AppStore. Headspace was also named one of
Amazon Alexa’s best health and wellness skills of 2018. For more
information please visit us at www.headspace.com,
or follow us on Facebook,
Twitter
and Instagram.

About MLS:

Headquartered in New York City, Major League Soccer features 26 clubs
throughout the United States and Canada, including future expansion
teams in Nashville and Miami. The League plans to have 28 clubs in the
coming years. For more information about MLS, visit www.MLSsoccer.com.

About U.S. Soccer:

Founded in 1913, the U.S. Soccer Federation has been the official
governing body of the sport in the United States for more than 100
years. During that time, the growth of the sport has grown tremendously
at all levels. As U.S. Soccer looks towards the future, its mission is
to make soccer the preeminent sport in the United States. With a
long-term and strategic approach, U.S. Soccer aims to accomplish its
mission by supporting its members to increase participation at the youth
and adult levels, develop world class players, coaches and referees to
consistently win at the highest levels on the international stage and
serve the fans by engaging with them in deeper and more meaningful ways.
For more information, visit ussoccer.com.

Contacts

Media Contacts:
MLS PR: Angela Alfano, [email protected]
U.S.
Soccer PR: Neil Buethe, [email protected]
Headspace
PR: Britta Franson, [email protected]

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