First two mini-pitches installed in Hawthorne and San Diego, California
Washington, DC – Today, Black Women’s Player Collective (BWPC) announced that it has joined forces with Black Players for Change (BPC) to create 12 new mini-pitches in communities nationwide. The 12 mini-pitches are part of a partnership between the two organizations, adidas, Musco Lighting, and the U.S. Soccer Foundation aimed at providing greater access and opportunity for children of color to play soccer.
“These mini-pitches are the BWPC’s first tangible product of all the work we have been doing behind the scenes and we are thrilled for them to come to fruition so soon,” said Margaret Purce, Executive Director of BWPC. “These spaces will be critical to our mission of empowering young Black girls and increasing lasting opportunity for sport and community fostered through play. We hope children of all ages enjoy these pitches and create longstanding, memorable experiences for their communities.”
“BPC is committed to tackling the racial injustices that have limited Black people from having an equitable stake in the game of soccer and society,” said Justin Morrow, Co-Founder and Executive Director of BPC. “That’s why we are thrilled that BWPC has joined this effort, because our collective voice and support will go a lot further in making strides toward a more just society and equitable representation at all levels of the sport.”
The group of partners also announced today that the first two mini-pitches were recently completed at RH Dana Middle School in Hawthorne, CA and the Clairemont Branch of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater San Diego. BPC Executive Board Member Kei Kamara and BWPC Executive Board Members Jamia Fields and Ifeoma Onumonu are from Los Angeles and the surrounding area. San Diego is home to BPC Executive Board Member Earl Edwards Jr.
“I am so excited the BWPC is partnering with the BPC and U.S. Soccer Foundation to bring mini-pitches to Black communities across the country,” said Imani Dorsey, Executive Board Member of the BWPC. “So much of my passion for soccer continues to come from the casual yet competitive pickup games I have partaken in since a young girl. I hope young players view these pitches as a haven to play, compete, and be carefree. Everyone is welcome, and I hope the joint involvement of the BWPC and BPC inspires and encourages kids to believe in their own potential and dream big.”
“The joining of BWPC and BPC is not only a monumental moment in Black Soccer history, but U.S. Soccer history. Creating paths to build equity in our game for those who have until just recently been without access, required a commitment and dedication to a long-term vision,” said Quincy Amarikwa, Founder and Director of Strategic Partnerships of BPC. “The amount of work being done behind the scenes by our allies in the U.S. Soccer Foundation, Musco and adidas will never be undervalued. The impact of their commitments to closing the gap will only compound over the long term.”
Photos of BPC and BWPC members surround the two new mini-pitches. Members of both organizations plan to visit the pitches and meet with local youth to talk about their experiences and issues facing communities of color when it’s safe to do so or in the coming weeks virtually. The partners will also work to ensure that the pitches are open for pick-up play and that there are opportunities for high-quality soccer programs, such as the U.S. Soccer Foundation’s Soccer for Success program.
“We are delighted to work with BPC and BWPC on this mini-pitch initiative,” said Ed Foster-Simeon, President & CEO of the U.S. Soccer Foundation. “The players are not only involved in the creation of the new spaces, but also in hosting critical conversations with youth in these communities about overcoming the many challenges they face. We know that the impact of these spaces will be felt well beyond the pitch.”
“BWPC brings valuable perspective and influence to this shared commitment of inclusivity,” said Jeff Rogers, President of Musco. “We couldn’t be more proud to join them, BPC and the U.S. Soccer Foundation in this important endeavor to bring positive change and opportunity to youth in underserved communities.”
“We believe that through sport, we have the power to change lives and are excited to include the BWPC in our partnership with the U.S. Soccer Foundation and Black Players for Change to impact the Black communities we serve,” said Skate Noftsinger, Director of Soccer Sports Marketing for adidas. “It is important that young girls and boys see professional athletes of all genders represented in sport. We are committed to creating safe places to play, breaking barriers to sport, and creating an equal starting line for all young boys and girls of color.”
Ten more mini-pitches will be installed throughout 2021. In October 2020, adidas, BPC, Musco, the New York Red Bulls, and the U.S. Soccer Foundation celebrated the opening of a double pitch honoring BPC at West Side High School in Newark, NJ. It was the first mini-pitch and project in which the U.S. Soccer Foundation–along with the New York Red Bulls and Musco–collaborated with BPC.
To learn more about BPC, visit blackplayersforchange.org and to learn more about the BWPC, visit its Twitter and Instagram pages. Download photos of the two new mini-pitches in Hawthorne and San Diego here.
ABOUT BLACK PLAYERS FOR CHANGE
Black Players for Change (BPC) is an independent organization consisting of over 170+ Black players, coaches and staff of MLS, working to bridge the racial equality gap that exists in society. BPC is committed to tackling the racial injustices that have limited Black people from having an equitable stake in the game of soccer and society. Among the many goals the organization strives to advance the attention on human rights inequalities from protest to programs, partnerships and policies that address systemic racism. For more information visit www.BlackPlayersForChange.org or follow us on Twitter and Instagram.
ABOUT BLACK WOMEN’S PLAYER COLLECTIVE
The Black Women’s Player Collective (BWPC) is a nonprofit organization that elevates the image, value, and representation of Black women as athletes and leaders in business, industry, and public and private institutions. The BWPC currently consists of the 43 Black women competing in the NWSL as of 2020 and aims to provide a collective voice to the Black perspective and experience of a professional female athlete amidst the incessant and pervasive racial inequality and social injustice plaguing our country. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram.
adidas is a global leader in the sporting goods industry, offering a broad portfolio of footwear, apparel and hardware for sport and lifestyle around the core brands adidas and Reebok. Headquartered in Herzogenaurach/Germany, the company employs 57,000 people across the globe and generated sales of around €22 billion in 2018.
ABOUT MUSCO LIGHTING
Since 1976, Musco Lighting has led the world in the design and manufacture of sports and large area lighting solutions. The company has pioneered lighting systems that enhance the venue and its purpose, are sensitive to the environment, and are cost-effective to own and operate. Musco has been engineering systems around the LED for more than a decade, and has designed permanent and temporary solutions for everything from local Little League® fields to international Olympic Games. The company has earned awards including an Emmy for the quality of its lighting in television broadcasts and a Technical Academy Award, Oscar, for movie lighting. Musco’s global team of experts partner with customers to plan, complete, and maintain a trouble-free solution for their facilities.
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.
Sirena Amarikwa, Black Players for Change
Jennifer Arnold, U.S. Soccer Foundation
Eduardo Zamarripa, Musco Lighting