Fresno, CA – A new soccer mini-pitch honoring members of Black Players for Change (BPC) and Black Women’s Player Collective (BWPC) is coming to Computech Middle School in the Edison High School region. The mini-pitch is one of 18 being completed as part of a national partnership between BPC, BWPC, the U.S. Soccer Foundation, Musco Lighting, and adidas in communities of significance for members of BPC and BWPC.
The mini-pitch at Computech Middle School honors BPC Executive Board Member Quincy Amarikwa, whose family resides in Fresno.
“I’m extremely grateful to have this opportunity to bring a mini-pitch to Fresno,” said BPC’s Quincy Amarikwa. “Having this meaningful connection to my wife’s hometown and alma mater is difficult to put into words. The amazing commitment to creating access to the game I love from Black Players for Change, U.S. Soccer Foundation, Musco Lighting, and Black Women’s Player Collective is invaluable. This experience is something I am blessed to be a part of and share with communities across the states.”
“We are thrilled to have a soccer mini-pitch at Computech to serve the Edison region, adding another opportunity for exercise and fun outdoors, and to broaden our students’ access to the great game of soccer,” said Superintendent of Fresno Unified School District Bob Nelson.
The mini-pitch initiative is part of partners’ collective efforts to remove systemic barriers that keep children of color—specifically Black children—from playing the game and gaining the many benefits that come with being involved in the sport.
“What this group of partners has been able to accomplish in just one year is incredible,” said Ed Foster-Simeon, President & CEO of the U.S. Soccer Foundation. “Not only do children now have more safe places to play right in their neighborhoods, but they have been connected with athletes and mentors who look like them, which is so important to helping them see themselves in all aspects of our sport and society.”
“Every time a mini-pitch is installed through this initiative, it represents countless new opportunities for youth in underserved communities to discover the sport of soccer, develop essential life skills, and have fun,” said Jeff Rogers, President of Musco. “We couldn’t be more proud of everything that’s been achieved in the first year, and we look forward to strengthening our commitment to Black Players for Change, the Black Women’s Player Collective, and the U.S. Soccer Foundation as we move ahead and continue with this important work.”
“We’re proud to play a role in the completion of 18 mini-pitches across the U.S., helping to increase the opportunity for young athletes from all backgrounds to have access to sport. Everyone should have a safe place for sport in their communities, and we look forward to the positive impact the mini-pitches have on young athletes and local communities for years to come,” said Skate Noftsinger, Director of Soccer Sports Marketing at adidas.
Other mini-pitches that are part of the initiative are in Alexandria, VA; Durham, NC; Hawthorne, CA; Houston, TX; Indianapolis, IN; Kissimmee, FL; Louisville, KY; Rex, GA; Sacramento, CA; San Diego, CA; and Woodbridge, VA.
In addition to the 12 mini-pitches funded by BPC, BWPC, Musco Lighting, adidas, and the U.S. Soccer Foundation, other partners have joined these efforts, bringing another six mini-pitches to fruition throughout the year.
In October 2020, adidas, BPC, Musco, the New York Red Bulls, Wells Fargo, and the U.S. Soccer Foundation celebrated the opening of a double mini-pitch honoring the BPC at West Side High School in Newark, NJ. It was the first mini-pitch project in which the U.S. Soccer Foundation – along with the New York Red Bulls and Musco – collaborated with BPC.
In June 2021, New York City Soccer Initiative partners joined BPC and BWPC to unveil a mini-pitch in Harlem as part of a 50-pitch project that was completed in fall 2021.
In December 2021, local Sacramento partners Mutual Assistance Network and Sacramento Republic FC provided additional funding to create the first-ever four-court mini-pitch complex at Charles Robertson Park, which is the centerpiece of a larger park renovation to create additional safe places for play in the North Sacramento neighborhood.
Learn more about the BPC/BWPC Mini-Pitch Initiative here.
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 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.
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.
adidas is the global leader in football. It is the official supplier of the most important football tournaments in the world, such as the FIFA World Cup™, the UEFA European Championship & the UEFA Champions League. adidas also sponsors some of the world’s top clubs including Real Madrid, Manchester United, Arsenal, FC Bayern Munich & Juventus. adidas is also partner to some of the best athletes in the game including Leo Messi, Paul Pogba, Mohamed Salah, Paulo Dybala, Thiago Alcantara, Gabriel Jesus, Roberto Firmino, Joao Felix, Serge Gnabry, Isco, Dele Alli, Karim Benzema, Vivianne Miedema, Lindsey Horan & Wendie Renard.
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.
Jennifer Arnold, U.S. Soccer Foundation