Columbus, OH – The Columbus Crew SC Foundation, Columbus City Schools, Columbus Recreation and Parks, and the U.S. Soccer Foundation together unveiled a new mini-pitch at Eakin Elementary School in Columbus yesterday. The new, state-of-the-art mini-pitch is complete with built-in goals as well as lights, allowing community members to enjoy the game past daylight hours.

Columbus Crew SC executives and players, Columbus City officials, and other representatives were all in attendance to celebrate the new play space. The event was also attended by local Soccer for Success participants, who got to officially open the mini-pitch with a first kick and scrimmages, coached by Columbus Crew SC players Alex Crognale, Jon Kempin, Patrick Mullins, and Josh Williams.

This mini-pitch supports the U.S. Soccer Foundation’s It’s Everyone’s Game movement, which aims to build 1,000 safe play spaces and reach one million participants in Soccer for Success programming by 2026.

“The opening of this mini-pitch is an example of Crew SC’s commitment to improving our community by providing access to safe places to play soccer,” said Crew SC President Tim Bezbatchenko. “Soccer can be used as a vehicle to improve education and provide additional learning opportunities and creating this positive, lasting impact is a priority for Crew SC ownership, the entire Crew SC front office and the Crew SC Foundation.”

“Healthy bodies fuel active minds, and playing sports is a proven way to keep children healthy, teach them to work successfully as part of a team, and boost their energy and confidence,” said Columbus City Schools Superintendent Dr. Talisa Dixon. “We appreciate the donation of this mini-pitch at our Eakin Elementary and all the ways in which Columbus Crew SC has stepped up to provide more of our District’s children with opportunities to learn and grow in and out of the classroom.”

“This is an exciting collaborative partnership that provides much needed recreational resources for Columbus youth. The investment in this new mini-pitch supports the goal of ensuring every resident has access to programs and services through Columbus Recreation and Parks,” said Council President Pro Tem Brown.

“Our partners in Columbus have energetically demonstrated their support of our mission to increase access to the beautiful game, particularly to those living in underserved communities,” said U.S. Soccer Foundation President & CEO Ed Foster-Simeon. “We’re eager to see where this partnership takes us as we continue to provide more children in Columbus with safe places to play and high-quality soccer programming.”

At the unveiling, Columbus Crew SC President Tim Bezbatchenko, Columbus Crew SC Head Coach Caleb Porter, Superintendent Dr. Talisa Dixon, Columbus City Councilmember Liz Brown, and U.S. Soccer Foundation Safe Places to Play Director Alex Bard delivered short remarks about the importance of the new mini-pitch for the local community. Crew SC TV play-by-play announcer Neil Sika served as the event emcee.

Founded in 2003 as the charitable arm of the Black & Gold, the Columbus Crew SC Foundation’s mission is to change young lives through a passion for soccer. The Columbus Crew SC Foundation’s core areas of focus are soccer field development, funding grants for underserved leagues and clubs, providing Major League Soccer experiences for at-risk youth and supporting coach, player and referee development in underserved communities.

Columbus City Schools is Ohio’s largest school district with 50,000 students served across 110 schools. Eakin Elementary is located on the west side of Columbus and provides quality educational opportunities to nearly 300 students starting in Pre-Kindergarten through 5th Grade.

Columbus Recreation and Parks Department’s (CRPD) mission is to connect the people of our community through the power of nature, wellness and creativity. With more than 380 parks, 29 community centers, five athletic complexes, six golf courses and 120 miles of regional trails, our vision is to ensure every resident has access to all of our department’s many services. When visiting one of our parks, we expect our spaces to be a places of joy. We expect our facilities and parks to be open to all.  Last, we expect our spaces to be embedded in neighborhoods and serve as gathering places for every member of our community. As a department, we align our strategic goals with the 2014 Master Plan because we believe our spaces are important assets entrusted for generations. For more information, visit or follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

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 or follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Carlos Mojica, Crew SC Communications Manager
(330) 321-8989

Jennifer Arnold, U.S. Soccer Foundation
(202) 872-6662

Sophia Fifner, Columbus Recreation and Parks Department
(614) 266-9198



Join the U.S. Soccer Foundation in the movement to improve lives through soccer.

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  • 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

  • APT


    APT (Advanced Polymer Technology), the Foundation’s Partner for Acrylic Coating Products, is a global leader in high performance sports surfaces. APT provides people around the world with safe, reliable, performance enhancing surfaces. APT’s Laykold Masters acrylic surfacing system will be the official surface of an estimated 500 mini-pitches. For more information on APT, please visit

  • 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

  • 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

  • Johnson & Johnson

    Johnson & Johnson

    Johnson & Johnson, the Foundation’s grant partner, is dedicated to supporting the next generation of female leaders by providing greater access to girls’ youth soccer programming in underserved communities nationwide. As the world’s largest and most broadly based healthcare company, Johnson & Johnson strives to create healthier communities, and put a healthy mind, body and environment within reach of everyone, everywhere. For more information, please visit

  • 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



    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


    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 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

  •, 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. embodies a passion for the game that extends to the people who play, coach and support soccer. For more information, please visit




  • 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 or contact Mike Squire at / 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


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