FIRST MINI-PITCHES HONORING BLACK PLAYERS FOR CHANGE INSTALLED AT WEST SIDE HIGH SCHOOL IN NEWARK WITH NEW YORK RED BULLS, MUSCO LIGHTING, AND U.S. SOCCER FOUNDATION

adidas joins as national partner in the initiative

 

Newark, NJ – The first mini-pitches honoring Black Players for Change (BPC) were unveiled at West Side High School in Newark, NJ today. To mark the occasion, members of BPC, Black executives from New York Red Bulls (RBNY) and the U.S. Soccer Foundation, and the West Side High School soccer team participated in small group discussions to talk about their own personal experiences and challenges facing Black communities today. The group also conducted a ceremonial first kick to officially dedicate the new mini-pitches. These mini-pitches are part of a larger national mini-pitch effort announced in August.

Visuals of prominent Black athletes, including some notable figures from RBNY, surround the mini-pitches, which will be used by the West Side High School soccer team, other students, and community members for practices, structured programs, and pick-up play.

“We are very excited to see this project come to life so quickly,” said Justin Morrow, Co-Founder and Executive Director of BPC. “These new mini-pitches in Newark are just the beginning of our efforts to create mini-pitches in Black communities nationwide and provide more opportunities for youth of color to play our game at the grassroots level and benefit from all that playing soccer offers,” Morrow concluded.

“These mini-pitches build on our efforts in Newark with the New York Red Bulls to provide easier access and more opportunities for youth across the city to play our game,” said Ed Foster-Simeon, President & CEO of the U.S. Soccer Foundation. “Celebrating the creation of these new pitches with West Side High School students will also provide them with a forum for honest conversations with a variety of leaders — including members of Black Players for Change — who serve as role models on and off the field.”

RBNY is the first MLS club to partner with BPC, the U.S. Soccer Foundation, Musco Lighting, and adidas on mini-pitches that honor BPC. Since 2018, RBNY alongside the U.S. Soccer Foundation, Newark Board of Education, and Wells Fargo have been working to dramatically increase access to safe places to play and evidence-based soccer programming at Newark Public Schools. Over five years, the goal is to create 20 mini-pitches and engage more than 2,500 Newark students in the U.S. Soccer Foundation’s Soccer for Success program.

“Our entire club is deeply honored to have the opportunity to pay tribute to the admirable actions and efforts of Black Players for Change with brand new mini-pitches for our neighbors in Newark, NJ,” said Denis Hamlett, Sporting Director, New York Red Bulls. “Along with our valued partners led by the U.S. Soccer Foundation, we are committed to providing beautiful spaces throughout Newark Public Schools for children to learn and play the game of soccer.”

At the event, it was also announced that adidas has joined BPC, Musco Lighting, and the U.S. Soccer Foundation as a national partner to install at least 12 mini-pitches honoring BPC over the next year. adidas is a longtime partner of the U.S. Soccer Foundation and has partnered with the Foundation on the creation of more than 70 mini-pitches since 2016—including the 20-for-20 Initiative to honor Major League Soccer’s 20th season and as a founding partner in the New York City Soccer Initiative aimed at creating 50 mini-pitches across all five boroughs by 2022.

“We’re very excited to bring both adidas and RBNY in as partners on this monumental project,” said Quincy Amarikwa, Co-Founder and Director of Strategic Partnerships for BPC. “Their ability to quickly see the value of BPC and swift commitment to our organization has been refreshing to see, especially in these times. Action through commitments like this will create the change we’re all committed to seeing come to fruition,” Amarikwa concluded.

“We believe that through sport, we have the power to change lives and are excited to expand our partnership with U.S. Soccer Foundation and Black Players for Change to impact the Black communities we serve. We are dedicated to providing safe places to play, breaking barriers to sport, and creating an equal starting line for all young boys and girls of color,” said Scot Thompson, Sr. Manager of Soccer Sports Marketing for adidas.

Each Mini-Pitch System™ modular sports solution includes state-of-the-art LED lighting technology, fencing, goals, lockable storage, and ADA-compliant access. On average, the lighted mini-pitches allow for nearly three additional hours of play in a day.

“This effort is about creating opportunities for youth in Newark to learn and grow as individuals, and we couldn’t be more proud to be a part of that,” said Jeff Rogers, Vice President of Developmental Sales for Musco. “Participating in soccer and team sports can offer so many benefits in terms of developing essential skills for life, habits for fitness, teamwork, and friendships. Removing systemic barriers and providing safer spaces for that to happen is something we strongly believe in.”

To learn more about this initiative, visit https://blackplayersforchange.org/more-than-1-million-pledged-to-create-12-mini-pitches-honoring-black-players-for-change-kickstarting-long-term-partnership-with-u-s-soccer-foundation/.

ABOUT BLACK PLAYERS FOR CHANGE

Black Players for Change (BPC) is an independent organization consisting of over 170+ 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 right 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 ADIDAS

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 Little League® fields to Olympic Games. The company has earned awards including an Emmy for the quality of its lighting in television broadcasts and a Technical Academy Award 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.

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Sirena Amarikwa, Black Players for Change

Sirena@BlackPlayersForChange.org

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

Sammy Steinlight, New York Red Bulls

sammy@steinlightmedia.com; 917-750-8747

Eduardo Zamarripa, Musco Lighting

eduardo.tamezzamarripa@musco.com; 641-670-1608

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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.

  • APT

    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 www.sportsbyapt.com.

  • AstroTurf

    AstroTurf

    For athletes and soccer enthusiasts, AstroTurf® is redefining how synthetic soccer fields are built and perform. The brand offers advanced, state-of-the-art synthetic turf systems with proprietary engineered technologies. A growing number of clubs, high schools, colleges, professional sports teams and municipalities continue to select AstroTurf’s LigaTurf-branded products for their premium quality, technical superiority, and safety. To learn more, visit the company’s recently redesigned website, www.astroturf.com/soccer. – See more at: https://ussoccerfoundation.org/article/astroturf-partners-with-the-u.s.-soccer-foundation-as-a-national-partner-for-field-building-program#sthash.FL8E8bAM.dpuf

  • 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.

  • Hunter

    Hunter

    Hunter Industries, the Foundation’s National Partner for Irrigation Equipment, is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of irrigation equipment for turf, landscape and soccer fields.  Hunter Industries’ focus is on landscape irrigation with a significant part of its business centering on the proper care and maintenance of sports turf. For more information, please visit hunterindustries.com. Please contact Lynda Wightman, 406-273-3073, lynda.wightman@hunterindustries.com with any questions regarding the U.S. Soccer Foundation’s grants program.

  • 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 www.jnj.com.

  • 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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