U.S. SOCCER FOUNDATION COMPLETES INSTALLATION OF 500TH MINI-PITCH

Milestone marks halfway point to organization’s goal of installing 1,000 mini-pitches in underserved communities by 2026 when the FIFA World Cup comes back to North America

Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Soccer Foundation today announced that it has completed its 500th mini-pitch toward its goal of creating 1,000 by 2026. The 500th mini-pitch will be opened this afternoon at Hendley Elementary School in Washington, D.C., followed by a soccer festival with students.

Mini-pitches are small, customized, hard-court surfaces that are perfectly suited for both organized soccer and pick-up games. Ideal for urban areas and other communities where space is at a premium, mini-pitches increase soccer participation, strengthen communities, and improve the lives of youth.

In fact, survey data collected by the U.S. Soccer Foundation found that:

  • 99% say people in their community are more active after installation of a mini-pitch
  • 98% say their community feels safer after installation of a mini-pitch
  • 96% say their mini-pitch is accessible to all
  • 91% say their mini-pitch serves as a new community hub
  • 5x more soccer is played at sites after installation of a mini-pitch
  • 31% of mini-pitch users are new to soccer

“Mini-pitches are transforming the landscape of hundreds of communities and are a critical component of increasing access to our game,” said Ed Foster-Simeon, President & CEO of the U.S. Soccer Foundation. “Because mini-pitches are located right in neighborhoods where children live and go to school, they make play the easy choice and provide a safe place for children and families to enjoy the many benefits of soccer when they may not otherwise have the opportunity to do so.”

Major Partners & Initiatives

The first mini-pitch was installed with Orlando City SC at John H. Jackson Community Center in Orlando, FL. Since then, major corporations and organizations have joined forces with the U.S. Soccer Foundation to create mini-pitches in underserved communities across the country.

In 2016 in honor of Major League Soccer’s 20th season, MLS, adidas, and Southern New Hampshire University launched the 20-for-20 Mini-Pitch Initiative and installed a mini-pitch in each of the 20 MLS club markets. Together with its clubs, MLS and the Foundation have collectively created 247 mini-pitches across the country with 57 more to be installed soon, bringing the total to more than 300 mini-pitches created together.

Since 2017, adidas has supported the creation of more than 100 mini-pitches in cities including New York City and Los Angeles. Last month, adidas and the U.S. Soccer Foundation announced a new Just Ball League coming to NYC and LA this fall. The league will provide free, competitive neighborhood soccer leagues to participants using the existing mini-pitch infrastructure to host league play.

Also in 2017, Target pledged $7 million to create 100 mini-pitches in communities nationwide. The 100 mini-pitches were completed in 2020. Target has continued to support mini-pitch projects since the partnership officially ended, including projects in DC, Las Vegas, and Kansas City, among others.

In 2018, Musco Lighting designed a new and enhanced Mini-Pitch System™ alongside the U.S. Soccer Foundation, which is now used for mini-pitch projects. The system is complete with lights to increase the number of hours children and adults use the space, benches to watch play unfold, and lockable storage for equipment. Musco is also contributing more than $10 million to the Foundation in support of its mission.

In February 2020, The DICK’S Sporting Goods Foundation pledged $5 million in support of the U.S. Soccer Foundation’s United for Girls initiative. Through this partnership, the two groups are in the process of installing a total of 15 mini-pitches in communities across the country.

Through a partnership with Black Players for Change, Black Women’s Player Collective, adidas, and Musco Lighting, 18 new mini-pitches were created over the last two years to provide greater access to soccer for Black children in communities nationwide.

Large regional partnerships have also brought hundreds of mini-pitches to communities across the country.

  • The New York City Soccer Initiative (NYCSI) was the first-of-its-kind, $3 million public-private partnership that brought 50 mini-pitches to the five boroughs. NYCSI partners announced at the 50th mini-pitch opening in November 2021 that they would create 26 more mini-pitches in the lead-up to the 2026 World Cup.
  • Through the Chicago Soccer Initiative, the Foundation teamed up with Chicago Fire FC, Chicago Park District, and Ken Griffin to create 50 mini-pitches at parks across the city.
  • Through the Newark Soccer Initiative, the Foundation joined the New York Red Bulls, Newark Public Schools, and Wells Fargo to create 20 mini-pitches at schools across Newark.
  • Through the Los Angeles Soccer Initiative, the Foundation teamed up with Los Angeles Football Club, Los Angeles Unified School District, Kaiser Permanente, and adidas to create 16 mini-pitches so far at sites across Los Angeles, with more projects planned for the future.
  • The Houston 2026 World Cup Bid Committee and U.S. Soccer Foundation are working to create 30 mini-pitches across the region by 2026. Ben Guill and DC United and Swansea SC co-owner Jake Silverstein are funding the creation of the first 15 mini-pitches, six which have already been installed. Houston Dynamo FC owner Ted Segal has also contributed to the effort.
  • Together with Fields & Futures, Musco Lighting, Energy Assist Foundation, and 7-Eleven, the Foundation created 10 mini-pitches at Oklahoma City Public Schools.

The D.C. Soccer Initiative is the U.S. Soccer Foundation’s latest city-wide mini-pitch initiative. Made possible by the A. James & Alice B. Clark Foundation, the MLS Players Association, and Target, the partners will complete 10 mini-pitches at DC Public Schools by the end of this calendar year. Hendley Elementary—the site of the 500th mini-pitch—is one of the four already completed alongside mini-pitches at Hart Middle School, Plummer Elementary School, and Sousa Middle School.

The Foundation’s mini-pitches are part of its mission to provide underserved communities access to innovative play spaces and evidence-based soccer programs that instill hope, foster well-being, and help youth achieve their fullest potential. Through the It’s Everyone’s Game movement to create access to the sport and its benefits, the Foundation’s goal is to create 1,000 mini-pitches and engage 1 million children in its programs by 2026.

For select images of mini-pitches, please follow this link. To find a mini-pitch near you, check out the U.S. Soccer Foundation’s mini-pitch map.

ABOUT 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.

MEDIA CONTACT

Jennifer Arnold, U.S. Soccer Foundation
jarnold@ussoccerfoundation.org; 202-872-6662

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OUR PARTNERS

adidas

adidas

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.

CHA

CHA

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

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 $100 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.

GEICO

GEICO

GEICO is committed to impacting local communities through Educational programs, Community Development projects and Equity & Inclusion initiatives. To date, GEICO has donated to 7,000+ charities and averaged between $6 and $8 million in annual giving over the last two decades. To learn more about GEICO’s commitment to the community please visit www.geico.com/about/in-the-community.

Genesis Gives

Genesis Gives

Genesis Gives is a corporate social responsibility initiative from Genesis Motor North America. Expanding on the brand’s commitment to the highest standards of performance and its athletic elegance design identity, Genesis Gives supports nonprofit organizations with the goal of improving access to, and performance in, youth sports and STEAM education in under resourced communities.

Kwik Goal

Kwik Goal

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.

Miami Children's Trust

Miami Children's Trust

The Children’s Trust supports Soccer for Success programming in South Florida. The Children’s Trust is a dedicated source of revenue established by voter referendum to improve the lives of children and families in Miami-Dade County.

MLS WORKS

MLS WORKS

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.

Musco

Musco

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

SCORE Sports

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

Soccer.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

Target

Target announced a national partnership with Safe Places to Play in 2017, along with a $6 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.

Telemundo

Telemundo

The U.S. Soccer Foundation and Telemundo are joining efforts to advance soccer as a means for helping children in underserved communities reach their full potential, including supporting the Foundation’s signature Soccer for Success youth program, which provides free or low-cost soccer programs during and after school at more than 250 sites nationally. Telemundo will also serve as the first official and exclusive Spanish-language media partner of the U.S. Soccer Foundation. For more information visit https://www.telemundo.com/el-poder-en-ti.

TGI Worldwide

TGI Worldwide

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.

For more information on our services, please visit https://www.worldwidetgi.com or contact Mike Squire at msquire@worldwidetgi.com / Phone: 312-371-5852.

World Soccer Shop

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.

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