At adidas, we believe that through sport, we have the power to change lives. Sport is the epicenter of our brand. It’s a universal language that can unite groups of people unlike anything else. But, in order to create the future of sport that all kids deserve, we need partners that can help elevate, broaden, and strengthen the reach of our impact.
For two days in August, hundreds of adidas employee volunteers joined forces with the U.S. Soccer Foundation to bring our core belief to life in a way that will reverberate through Los Angeles for years to come.
Erin Marie Davis
Watts, an often-overlooked area of downtown LA, is one of the most underserved locations in California. Thirty-nine percent of the community lives below the poverty line. The largest demographic in Watts is 10-years-old or younger. There are 7,000 gang members within only two square miles. Fifty percent of the population have less than a high school degree and less than three percent have earned a four-year college degree.
The Watts Empowerment Center is a source of transformation and positivity for the city’s residents. It has been a critical safe-haven for youth and families for over a decade. After an initial site visit over the summer, it was clear that while the Center is a beacon of hope for Watts, the area was still in dire need of safe, outdoor places to play. That’s where adidas, 200+ volunteers, the U.S. Soccer Foundation, and a handful of other partners came in.
For the first time ever, Watts now has a brand new designated outdoor space to play soccer.
“I feel [building this futsal court] is a very inspiring moment not just for me, but for all my other coworkers to give the community somewhere to feel safe and comfortable and not have to worry about if they’re doing something wrong and can just be a kid.”
-Victoria Rios, adidas volunteer
Erin Marie Davis
Volunteers spent hours laying the foundation of the court and painting a sideline mural designed by Geoff Gouveia.
“[Soccer] needs to have more inherent creativity attached to it. The easiest way to do that is with art and attaching that art to a court has always been a dream of mine. To do it in a community like Watts that historically has been overlooked is so cool – that a community like this can rally around a park like this … It’s really inspiring and what the game is all about.”
-Geoff Gouveia, artist
The futsal court at the Watts Empowerment Center is part of a partnership between adidas, LAFC and the U.S. Soccer Foundation to create safe places to play across Los Angeles.
“[This pitch] is showing these kids and these families that they are not alone. There’s a community of people in LA that want to help them.”
-Sydney Van Noy, adidas volunteer
The pitch is a key component of the all-new outdoor Watts Sports Complex, which now includes not only a futsal court, but also a refreshed baseball/softball field, a re-painted skate park, a cement basketball court, run/walk mile markers, painted football field lines, and new sports equipment.
Erin Marie Davis
“It really means a lot to me because the community hardly had a soccer field before. It was nothing … just pure dirt and dried grass … I’m so happy because the community can just come together and play as one. Just like that. It just makes me so happy I don’t even know how to say it. I can’t put it into words. I’m just really happy and joyful that you guys are making this happen for us.”
-Gabriel Mendoza, high school resident from Watts
If the impact of the soccer pitch at the Watts Empowerment Center is any indication, sport truly does have the power to change lives.