Chicago, Illinois – April 19, 2010 – As part of an ongoing global financial literacy effort, professional soccer stars Brian McBride and Roger Espinoza joined with Visa Inc., the Illinois State Treasurer's Office and Chicago Public Schools today to introduce a new soccer-themed video game at Clemente Community Academy aimed at teaching students lessons about personal finance. Free copies of Financial Soccer – an interactive FIFA World Cup™ branded money management video game that combines the world's most popular sport with a high-quality financial literacy curriculum – will be distributed to every public high school in Illinois.
In addition to distributing copies of the game, Visa has donated printed Wealth Watchers Practical Money Skills budgeting journals to all Chicago high school students – all 115,000 of them – so that students can track expenses and learn how to create a budget. These simple but effective journals will help Chicago's teenagers track their spending and earnings and in many cases for the first time, help these students make a budget.
The financial literacy kick off event included McBride of the Chicago Fire and Espinoza of the Kansas City Wizards and Honduras National Men's Soccer team at Clemente Community Academy in West Town. Both players related some personal lessons about money management with students before challenging them to a game of Financial Soccer.
"Knowing how to manage your money will let you take control of your financial future," said McBride. "Financial Soccer is an excellent way to learn those money management skills, all while getting to play a great game."
"Financial Soccer provides today's students with the opportunity and tools to learn about the financial world in ways that were never available to me when I was younger," said Espinoza.
Financial Soccer combines the structure and rules of World Cup Soccer with financial education questions of varying difficulty. To score goals, a team needs to answer a series of money management questions. A FIFA Partner since 2007, Visa has been working to roll out Financial Soccer in more than 30 countries in the months leading up to the 2010 FIFA World Cup™. The game is now available in English, Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Russian, and Bahasa at www.financialsoccer.com and has reached the milestone of being used 1 million times.
"We need to give students the knowledge to make responsible choices and learn how to stay financially fit before they head off to college or join the workforce," said Robin Kelly, Chief of Staff, Office of the Illinois State Treasurer. "It's never too early for students to learn about concepts that will help them to save money and avoid debt. These are life-long lessons they need to learn early on."
Today's announcement was made at the Financial Literacy and Education Summit 2010, co-hosted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and Visa featuring a keynote address from New York Stock Exchange Euronext CEO Duncan L. Niederauer and the Obama Administration's views delivered by Michelle Greene, Deputy Assistant Treasury Secretary of Financial Education and Financial Access. An online replay of the summit can be viewed, beginning today at 2:30 p.m. Central, at: http://www.practicalmoneyskills.com/summit2010.
For over a decade, Visa has been developing valuable financial education through its Practical Money Skills for Life program and has made the commitment to reach 20 million people worldwide with financial literacy information by May 1, 2013. At today's summit, it was announced that Visa has significantly exceeded its progress toward this goal and have already reached 10 million people with Visa's financial literacy program.
"It is critical, especially in today's challenging economic environment, that everyone have access to the tools and resources they need to make informed financial decisions," said Jennifer Kuperman, Head of Global Corporate Social Responsibility, Visa Inc. "Visa has a longstanding commitment to promoting financial literacy and we are grateful to State Treasurer Giannoulias and Chicago Public Schools CEO Huberman for their leadership in strengthening financial education efforts for students."
Financial Soccer challenges players to answer fast-paced, multiple-choice money management questions correctly to advance down the field for a chance to score a goal. Players learn key concepts about saving, responsible spending, budgeting, and the wise use of credit. Financial Soccer comes on the heels of Visa's financial literacy video game developed with the NFL and NFL PLAYERS. To date, that game – Financial Football – has been donated by Visa to 25 state governments who have in turn, distributed it to every public high school in those states. As part of this, State Treasurer Giannoulias and Visa worked together in 2008 to distribute Financial Football to all high schools in Illinois.
About the Office of the Illinois State Treasurer
The Illinois Treasurer serves as the state's chief investment officer, protecting and managing billions of dollars in state and local funds. The office's financial education division provides Illinoisans with practical, relevant financial education and access to consumer advocacy resources to promote economic empowerment and wealth accumulation. For more information, visit www.treasurer.il.gov.
About Visa Inc.
Visa is a global payments technology company that connects consumers, businesses, financial institutions and governments in more than 200 countries and territories to fast, secure and reliable digital currency. Underpinning digital currency is one of the world's most advanced processing networks – VisaNet – that is capable of handling more than 10,000 transactions a second, with fraud protection for consumers and guaranteed payment for merchants. Visa is not a bank, and does not issue cards, extend credit or set rates and fees for consumers. Visa's innovations, however, enable its financial institution customers to offer consumers more choices: Pay now with debit, ahead of time with prepaid or later with credit products. For more information, visit usa.visa.com/about-visa/our_business.html.