Play Like A Champion Today® program In partnership with football and soccer awards

Author: Bill Schmitt

Trusted Sports Foundation

Play Like a Champion Today; (PLC), the athletics-focused initiative in the Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) at the University of Notre Dame, has teamed with the Trusted Sports Foundation in two awards programs that honor the country’s most inspirational high school athletes in the sports of football and soccer.

The football awards program, called the High School Football Rudy Awards and now in its third year, presents $25,000 in academic scholarships annually to 12 young football players recognized for a commitment to excellence combined with character and courage. The awards are based on the story of Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger, known for his persistence in making the Notre Dame football team as featured in the film “Rudy.”

The new soccer awards program, called the Inspireum Soccer Awards, will award $25,000 in academic scholarships to 12 high school soccer players who best exemplify the same combination of traits. In both the football and soccer programs, Trusted Sports Foundation invites the general public to nominate inspiring young athletes, appoints a selection committee of noted personalities from those sports, and awards the scholarships. The nonprofit foundation is a partner with PLC in both programs.

“These awards reflect the powerful life lessons that we see young people learning from sports every day,” said Kristin Sheehan, program director for PLC. “We celebrate not only the inspirational football and soccer players, but also the culture of integrity, perseverance and moral leadership that is passed to these athletes by coaches and parents.”

PLC, now in its sixth year, is an innovative coach and parent education initiative that frames coaching as a character-building enterprise, with sports complementing the educational process as an avenue toward personal integrity and moral leadership for young people.

Trusted Sports founder John Ballantine said: “We’re excited to partner with Play Like a Champion Today® to reassert sports as a tool for personal development and to highlight nominees as examples of how supportive teams, coaches and programs can foster effective members of society.”

The PLC/ACE initiative, named after the famous sign in the locker room of Notre Dame’s Fighting Irish football team, offers a child-centered, research-based approach to coaching and sport parenting; more than 15,000 coaches and 3,000 parents have participated in Play Like a Champion Today® workshops.

The nonprofit Trusted Sports Foundation, based in Bend, Ore., focuses on empowering youth to live up to their full potential through positive sports experiences that form active, healthy habits for a lifetime. Inspireum, also based in Bend, is a social enterprise dedicated to celebrating outstanding youth achievement that inspires the next generation and strengthens communities.

Contact: Bill Schmitt, media/communications specialist, Institute for Educational Initiatives, 574-631-3893,