On July 31st, the U.S. Soccer Foundation joined MLS All-Stars, MLS Works, the Chicago Fire and Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) at the 2017 MLS All-Star Community Day to unveil two new Safe Places to Play mini-pitches at Chicago’s Gage Park.
The field opening kicked off with remarks from U.S. Soccer Foundation President & CEO, Ed Foster-Simeon, Chicago Major Rahm Emanuel, MLS Commissioner Don Garber, and Chicago Fire General Manager Nelson Rodríguez. MLS All-Stars Tim Howard, Dax McCarty, Johan Kappelhof, and Greg Garza also joined for the ceremonial first kick.
The mini-pitches will provide a safe and accessible place to play, while supporting local youth programming, including the Chicago Fire’s P.L.A.Y.S. Program. Additionally, SNHU awarded a full college scholarship to a member of the local community.
After the official dedication, a championship match was held on the new pitch and featured teams from the MLS Works/Chicago Fire All-Star Community Day Youth Tournament. The MLS All-Stars in attendance served as celebrity coaches.
The event was an exciting day for the community and the new mini-pitches will continue to bring the community together to promote healthy habits and grow the game of soccer.