CHICAGO SOCCER INITIATIVE COMPLETES 50TH MINI-PITCH AT CHICAGO PARK LOCATIONS

Celebration of 50th mini-pitch to take place in spring 2022; The initiative led by Chicago Fire FC, Chicago Park District, Ken Griffin and the U.S. Soccer Foundation has expanded access for more than 10,000 youth to play the world’s game

CHICAGO – Today, the Chicago Soccer Initiative – Chicago Fire FC, Chicago Park District, Ken Griffin, and the U.S. Soccer Foundation – announced the completion of 50 mini-pitches that are now open at Chicago Park District locations across the city. The initiative, which was first announced in December 2017 with leadership funding from Citadel Founder and CEO Ken Griffin, was finished a full year ahead of its expected completion.

– Download photos of the Chicago Soccer Initiative 50 mini-pitches here.

“Four years ago in Chicago, we announced that our team at the U.S. Soccer Foundation was going to dramatically scale our work by installing 1,000 mini-pitches and engaging 1 million children in underserved communities by 2026,” said Ed Foster-Simeon, President & CEO of the U.S. Soccer Foundation. “I’m thrilled that we have made great progress toward our goals, and it is thanks to partners like those here in Chicago who have worked alongside us to help more children in underserved communities benefit from all the social, emotional, and health benefits our game provides.”

The 50th mini-pitch is now part of more than 450 mini-pitches that the U.S. Soccer Foundation has installed and opened nationwide on its path to create 1,000 mini-pitches by 2026. This initiative is dramatically expanding the reach of Foundation’s work to improve physical and social youth development through soccer – providing greater access to the sport and exposure to the teamwork and leadership skills that it teaches. In addition to bringing these new state-of-the-art places to play into neighborhoods across Chicago – with a large concentration of the mini-pitches in the city’s south and west sides – partners have worked to increase access to free, high-quality programming on the mini-pitches and ensure that they are open for pick-up play.

“The completion of the 50 mini-pitches across the city of Chicago represents an incredible milestone for the Chicago Soccer Initiative that began nearly four years ago,” said Chicago Fire Foundation Executive Director Jessica Yavitz. “This initiative emphasizes the importance that our Club and partners, in the case of the 50th pitch, United Airlines, place on providing a safe place for the community to play soccer, create friendships and instill an active, healthy lifestyle.”

“We are thrilled to work together to give local youth access to state-of-the-art soccer practice facilities,” said Chicago Park District Interim General Superintendent & CEO Rosa Escareño. “The 50 mini-pitches are more than just an investment in our parks, it’s also an investment in our kids, local communities, and city.”

To celebrate the completion of all 50 mini-pitches, the Chicago Soccer Initiative and additional partners will host an event in spring 2022. More details will be sent out closer to the spring 2022 event.
To find a mini-pitch location near you, visit https://ussoccerfoundation.org/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.

ABOUT CHICAGO FIRE FC
The Chicago Fire Football Club was founded in 1997 on the 126th anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire and will kick off its 25th season in Major League Soccer in 2022. The Fire have won six major domestic championship titles, including the 1998 MLS Cup, the 1998, 2000, 2003 and 2006 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cups, as well as the 2003 Supporters’ Shield. The Club’s charitable arm, the Chicago Fire Foundation, was recognized as ESPN’s 2019 Sports Humanitarian Team of the Year. The Fire plays their home matches at historic Soldier Field. For more information, visit chicagofirefc.com.

ABOUT THE CHICAGO PARK DISTRICT
The Chicago Park District has served Chicago residents for more than 85 years. It is a Gold Medal Award-winning organization, which recognizes excellence in park and recreation management across the nation. For more information about the Chicago Park District’s more than 8,800 acres of parkland, more than 600 parks, 26 miles of lakefront, 12 museums, two world-class conservatories, 16 historic lagoons, over 75 nature areas, thousands of special events, sports and entertainment programs, please visit www.chicagoparkdistrict.com or contact the Chicago Park District at 312/742.PLAY or 312/747.2001 (TTY). Want to share your talent? Volunteer in the parks by calling, 312/742.PLAY. Follow us on Facebook @ChicagoParkDistrict and on Instagram and Twitter @chicagoparks.

ABOUT KENNETH C. GRIFFIN
Ken Griffin is the founder of Citadel, one of the world’s most successful global alternative investment firms, and Citadel Securities, one of the largest market makers in the world. In addition to his wide- ranging contributions in global finance, Mr. Griffin has been recognized as one of the top philanthropists in America. His catalytic giving – amounting to over $1 billion in recent years – has included game-changing philanthropic initiatives to advance education, healthcare and economic opportunity.

MEDIA CONTACTS

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

Justyne Freud, Chiago Fire FC
jfreud@chicagofirefc.com; 714-595-9820

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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.

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.

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.

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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