REVOLUTIONARY MINI-PITCH BRINGS SOCCER TO UNDERSERVED AREAS
September 18, 2019
U.S. Soccer Foundation
Washington, D.C. – Girls and boys across the country, including thousands in underserved communities, will gain new access to Safe Places to Play over the next seven years thanks to a new and enhanced Mini-Pitch System™ designed for youth soccer.
These modular pitches – designed by the U.S. Soccer Foundation and Musco Lighting – are complete with lights to increase the number of hours kids and adults can use the space, benches to watch the play unfold, lockable storage for equipment, and include a comprehensive, long-term warranty to eliminate maintenance costs. Together, the mini-pitch system provides a compact but versatile unit that provides a fast, trouble-free installation, fits into urban environments or other areas where space is at a premium, and provides a safer place to play for kids and for the community to gather.
Although participation in youth sports is definitively associated with better health and academic achievement, more than 80 percent of children living in households making less than $25,000 miss out on the benefits of team sports. Furthermore, one in three Americans don’t have a park within a 10-minute walk from home, leaving too many kids without access to a soccer program or safe place for free play.
To address these barriers, the Foundation and its partners are creating 1,000 new mini-pitches nationwide by 2026 and working to offer youth development soccer programming at these sites at no cost to participants. In addition to providing access, the creation of mini-pitches has lasting community benefits: 98% of communities report that the people in their community are more active and 96% report the community feels safer with the addition of mini-pitch. Further, soccer mini-pitches serve as neighborhood gathering places for families, and nearly one-third of the kids who come to play on them are new to soccer.
“There just aren’t enough safe places for kids to play, especially in underserved communities,” said Ed Foster-Simeon, President & CEO of the U.S. Soccer Foundation. “We’re creating these mini-pitches right in the neighborhoods where kids live and go to school so they are easy for kids to access. The addition of lights to every mini-pitch, thanks to our partnership with Musco Lighting, will allow even more kids and families to play, especially in the darker, winter months. This means even more kids can benefit from all our game offers.”
“At the heart of the Foundation’s mission is empowering youth with confidence, teamwork, and life skills built through participation in soccer, and that’s a mission we believe in very strongly,” said Joe Crookham, President of Musco. “This mini-pitch system will improve our ability to expand these opportunities more efficiently to more communities that need them. We’re very proud to partner with the Foundation in this important endeavor.”
This model will be used for newly sourced U.S. Soccer Foundation mini-pitch projects. Over the past five years, the U.S. Soccer Foundation has created more than 200 mini-pitches nationwide, with 100 more to come in the next year. More than 15 of this new mini-pitch system are already in use in Cincinnati, OH; Columbus, OH; Dallas, TX; Manchester, NH; Newark, NJ; Oklahoma City, OK; Orlando, FL; and Phoenix, AZ.
Today’s announcement will be made at the grand opening of a new mini-pitch at Reynolds Middle School in the city of Fairview in metropolitan Portland. The mini-pitch was a gift from the W.J. Silverstein Family Trust and is the third mini-pitch that the Trust worked with the U.S. Soccer Foundation to create in the Portland area. Jake Silverstein, co-owner of MLS’s Houston Dynamo and NWSL’s Houston Dash, said “We are so excited to witness the amazingly positive impact these Safe Places to Play are having across our communities. Playing soccer from a young age can be instrumental in fostering a lifetime of health and wellbeing.”
Musco Lighting is a national partner in the U.S. Soccer Foundation’s It’s Everyone’s Game movement, which is working to ensure that children living in underserved communities can enjoy the health and youth development benefits of the game. Other national partners include adidas, Major League Soccer, and Target. Each of these national partners has been critical to helping the Foundation increase access to the game and its benefits through the creation of mini-pitches.
To learn more about the Foundation’s work to make soccer everyone’s game, visit itseveryonesgame.org.
About the U.S. Soccer Foundation
The U.S. Soccer Foundation’s programs are the national model for sports-based youth development in underserved communities. Since its founding in 1994, the Foundation has established programs proven to help children embrace an active and healthy lifestyle while nurturing their personal growth beyond sports. Its cost-effective, high-impact initiatives offer safe environments where kids and communities thrive. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the U.S. Soccer Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization. For more information visit www.ussoccerfoundation.org or follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
About Musco Lighting
Since 1976, Musco has specialized in the design and manufacture of sports and large-area lighting with innovations in light quality, glare reduction, and light control responsible to the needs of facility owners, users, neighbors, and the night sky. Musco’s TLC for LED® system technology delivers a level of light control and uniformity that can’t be matched, and is the solution of choice for neighborhood fields, collegiate and professional stadiums and arenas, international speedways, and global events such as the Olympic Games. Musco backs its LED solutions with a long-term warranty covering parts and labor, eliminating maintenance concerns and costs for its customers.
adidas, the Foundation's Safe Places to Play - Mini-Pitch Partner, supports providing children in underserved communities with safe play spaces nationwide. adidas strives to be the globally leading and most popular sporting goods brand. Dedicated to innovation, adidas embraces creativity and seeks to be socially responsible in all facets of its brand. For more information, please visit adidas.com.
APT (Advanced Polymer Technology), the Foundation’s Partner for Acrylic Coating Products, is a global leader in high performance sports surfaces. APT provides people around the world with safe, reliable, performance enhancing surfaces. APT’s Laykold Masters acrylic surfacing system will be the official surface of an estimated 500 mini-pitches. For more information on APT, please visit www.sportsbyapt.com.
For athletes and soccer enthusiasts, AstroTurf® is redefining how synthetic soccer fields are built and perform. The brand offers advanced, state-of-the-art synthetic turf systems with proprietary engineered technologies. A growing number of clubs, high schools, colleges, professional sports teams and municipalities continue to select AstroTurf’s LigaTurf-branded products for their premium quality, technical superiority, and safety. To learn more, visit the company’s recently redesigned website, www.astroturf.com/soccer. - See more at: https://ussoccerfoundation.org/article/astroturf-partners-with-the-u.s.-soccer-foundation-as-a-national-partner-for-field-building-program#sthash.FL8E8bAM.dpuf
CHA Sports, the Foundation's Supplier for Soccer Facility Design and Planning Services, provides community partners with expertise in soccer facility design. CHA Sport's full service approach allows the company to build world-class projects without breaking budgets. For more information, please visit chacompanies.com.
The DICK'S Sporting Goods Foundation
DICK’S Sporting Goods and The DICK’S Sporting Goods Foundation believe that participation in sports makes people better. Since 2014, DICK’S and The DICK’S Foundation have pledged more than 0 million to support youth sports teams and leagues in need. Through our Sports Matter initiative we strive to increase awareness for underfunded youth athletics nationwide and provide much-needed support through equipment, uniform and monetary donations. For more information on Sports Matter, visit SportsMatter.org.
Hunter Industries, the Foundation's National Partner for Irrigation Equipment, is one of the world's leading manufacturers of irrigation equipment for turf, landscape and soccer fields. Hunter Industries' focus is on landscape irrigation with a significant part of its business centering on the proper care and maintenance of sports turf. For more information, please visit hunterindustries.com. Please contact Lynda Wightman, 406-273-3073, email@example.com with any questions regarding the U.S. Soccer Foundation's grants program.
Johnson & Johnson
Johnson & Johnson, the Foundation’s grant partner, is dedicated to supporting the next generation of female leaders by providing greater access to girls’ youth soccer programming in underserved communities nationwide. As the world’s largest and most broadly based healthcare company, Johnson & Johnson strives to create healthier communities, and put a healthy mind, body and environment within reach of everyone, everywhere. For more information, please visit www.jnj.com.
Kwik Goal, the Foundation’s Official Supplier for goals, seating, boundary equipment, training equipment and coaching accessories, will be supporting a variety of Foundation programs and initiatives including: Soccer for Success, National Training and the Safe Places to Play program. Over thirty years ago, Kwik Goal was founded on the revolutionary concept of providing transportable goals for coaches at all age levels. Since that time, Kwik Goal has continued to focus on helping coaches and soccer programs create safe and dynamic learning environments by supplying high quality, safety tested soccer goals, field equipment and training equipment to the domestic and international market. For more information, please visit Kwikgoal.com.
MLS WORKS, Major League Soccer's community outreach initiative, is dedicated to addressing important social issues and serves as a platform for both League and club philanthropic programs. MLS WORKS seeks to establish Major League Soccer as a leader for improving the lives of people through sport. MLS WORKS is committed to improving the communities where we live and play our games by executing national programs and legacy projects, charitable giving campaigns, and undertaking various initiatives in underserved communities.
As a proud corporate partner of the U.S. Soccer Foundation, Musco is dedicated to helping the major charitable arm of American soccer create new opportunities through high-quality sports lighting. Their Total Light Control—TLC for LED™ technology is engineered as a system with lighting, structural, and electrical components designed to work together for streamlined installation and long-term reliability. TLC for LED delivers superior field lighting while eliminating glare and spill from impacting surrounding neighborhoods. And Musco’s long-term warranty covering parts and labor means U.S. Soccer Foundation partners don’t have to handle any maintenance on their system, or pay for it, for 25 years. Visit https://ussoccerfoundation.org/grants/ to learn more about the grant program and application process.
SCORE Sports, the preferred provider of shin guards to the Foundation’s Soccer for Success program, is a family-owned and operated business specializing in sports equipment, uniforms and apparel. SCORE is an industry leader and has been involved in the sports community for over 40 years. SCORE outfits athletes with high-quality uniforms that SCORE develops, designs and manufactures in the U.S. SCORE takes pride in working with various non-profit groups and causes to give back to athletes who may need some extra support to play the game they love. SCORE is environmentally cautious with the materials it uses for its products and does its part in minimizing our environmental footprint. SCORE proudly offers a wide variety of products to provide customers with a one-stop shop for all your soccer needs. For more information, please visit scoresports.com.
Soccer.com, the Foundation's National Partner for Soccer Equipment and Uniforms, was founded in 1984 to provide high quality soccer gear at reasonable prices through its nationally circulated catalog. Soccer.com embodies a passion for the game that extends to the people who play, coach and support soccer. For more information, please visit soccer.com.
Target announced a national partnership with Safe Spaces to Play in 2017, along with a million commitment to build 100 new soccer play spaces with the U.S. Soccer Foundation by 2020. This is the latest initiative in the Minneapolis-based retailer’s multi-dimensional approach to the sport of soccer, bringing the game to more kids and families across the country, and unlocking access and increasing involvement at all levels.
TGI Worldwide, the Foundation’s National Partner for Visual Branding (Signage, Event Décor, Pageantry, Sponsorship Activation), Perimeter Field Board Systems, Creative Services and Event Operations is proud to support a variety of initiatives and programs throughout the United States. Headquartered in the U.S., TGI is an internationally recognized sports marketing company delivering high profile Visual Branding, Live Event Management, LED, and cutting edge Digital Sports Applications to enrich the experience at major events and deliver commercial impact for sponsors and partners. The company has a 20-year history in providing its various solutions for many top-tier domestic and international events, organizations, teams and companies, with proven success and turn-key solutions across 1000+ events, 160+ cities and 50+ countries globally.
World Soccer Shop
Launched in 2001, World Soccer Shop is an online soccer retailer based in Birmingham, Alabama. It carries one of the world’s widest selections of officially-licensed products from the sport’s top brands and teams. World Soccer Shop is passionate about soccer and endeavors to spread the beautiful game around the world, especially to those in areas of need. For more information, please visit www.worldsoccershop.com.