SOCCER MINI-PITCH HONORING BLACK PLAYERS FOR CHANGE MEMBER AND FORMER MLS PLAYER RAY GADDIS OFFICIALLY UNVEILED AT OSCAR CHARLESTON PARK

Indianapolis, IN – The latest mini-pitch honoring members of Black Players for Change (BPC) and Black Women’s Player Collective (BWPC) was officially unveiled at Oscar Charleston Park today. Joined by Mayor Hogsett and Indy Parks and Recreation, students from KIPP Indy College Prep Middle were part of the grand opening celebration. This mini-pitch is one of 12 being installed in 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.

Aimed at removing systemic barriers to the sport for youth of color, the initiative focuses on selection of mini-pitch locations in underserved areas of the communities that lack access to safe places to play. The mini-pitch at Oscar Charleston Park honors BPC member and former MLS player Ray Gaddis, who grew up in Indianapolis and attended North Central High School.

“It is truly a blessing to have the opportunity to bring a mini-pitch (soccer pitch) to the greater Indianapolis area. I believe that the mini-pitch will serve the community in several ways by granting local residents exposure to new opportunities through the beautiful game of soccer!” said Ray Gaddis, BPC member and former MLS player. “When God blesses you, you have to be a blessing unto others. Just as my family and the city of Indianapolis have contributed toward my success, it is my turn and duty to be a catalyst and empower my community through the game of soccer.”

The mini-pitch also features colorful murals to celebrate the contributions of African-American trailblazers: late baseball Hall-of-Famer Oscar Charleston; former MLS player Ray Gaddis; former USWNT star, World Cup champion, and Olympic gold medalist Briana Scurry; and the first female self-made millionaire Madam C.J. Walker. Using panels around the mini-pitch, artist Israel Solomon created murals of legends who have impacted the city and the soccer world. Other mural artists were Matthew Cooper, Ashley Nora, and Rebecca Robinson.

At the grand opening event, local students joined Mayor Hogsett and Ray Gaddis for an official ribbon cutting, followed by a “first kick” and scrimmages on the new pitch.

“The new mini-pitch at Oscar Charleston Park will allow even more residents to play soccer with their friends, families, and neighbors,” said Mayor Joseph Hogsett. “We know that quality parks can help build community ties, increase healthy lifestyle choices, and provide benefits to the local environment and economy. That’s why the City is putting significant funding towards parks and greenspaces in neighborhoods throughout Indianapolis.”

In addition to the mini-pitch at Oscar Charleston Park, mini-pitches honoring BPC and BWPC have been completed in Hawthorne, CA, San Diego, CA, Orlando, FL, and Louisville, KY as part of the national partnership with adidas, Musco Lighting, and the U.S. Soccer Foundation. These pitches all aim to provide greater access for Black children to play the game.

“The BWPC could not be more excited for this mini-pitch to open at Oscar Charleston Park,” said Imani Dorsey, Executive Board Member of the BWPC. “We hope this pitch provides a safe space to discover and enjoy the game of soccer, while also encouraging its users to learn more about some of the women playing at the highest level. Enjoy the pitch and we hope to be there in person with you all soon!”

“Youth today are facing a host of challenges with the continued spread of COVID-19 causing disruptions in school and activities,” said Ed Foster-Simeon, President & CEO of the U.S. Soccer Foundation. “That’s why we are thrilled to continue opening new mini-pitches across the country, like the one at Oscar Charleston Park. These new spaces not only provide a safe place to play our game, but make it easier for children to be physically active and connect with friends and coaches. Even more, these mini-pitches honoring BPC and BWPC inspire the next generation and provide role models that look like them on and off the field.”

“The project at Oscar Charleston Park honoring Ray Gaddis is a great example of how impactful the Black Players for Change and Black Women’s Player Collective initiatives can be,” said Jeff Rogers, President of Musco. “For years to come, these kids and families are going to have a high-quality space to enjoy the sport, develop important life skills, and have fun. We’re proud to be a part of it.”

In addition to these 12 mini-pitches, other partners have joined BPC and BWPC in their efforts to create safer places to play.

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 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 will be completed this fall.

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.

ABOUT INDY PARKS
Indy Parks and Recreation provides parks, greenspaces, trails, and recreation opportunities for Marion County residents and visitors. The agency offers 212 parks, 11,258 acres of greenspace, 130 playgrounds, 155 sports fields, 153 miles of trails, 23 recreation and nature centers, 19 aquatic centers, 21 spray grounds, 13 golf courses, and four dog parks. Indy Parks also provides a range of sports, art, education, and recreation programs and more than 2,400 programs throughout the year. For more information about Indy Parks programs and services, visit parks.indy.gov, call (317) 327-PARK, or email IndyParksCS@indy.gov.

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.

MEDIA CONTACTS:

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

Ronnetta Spalding, Indy Parks and Recreation
Ronnetta.Spalding@Indy.Gov; 317-327-5799

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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.

Genesis Gives

Genesis Gives

Genesis Gives is a corporate social responsibility initiative from Genesis Motor North America. Expanding on the brand’s commitment to the highest standards of performance and its athletic elegance design identity, Genesis Gives supports nonprofit organizations with the goal of improving access to, and performance in, youth sports and STEAM education in under resourced communities.

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.

Miami Children's Trust

Miami Children's Trust

The Children’s Trust supports Soccer for Success programming in South Florida. The Children’s Trust is a dedicated source of revenue established by voter referendum to improve the lives of children and families in Miami-Dade County.

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.

Telemundo

Telemundo

The U.S. Soccer Foundation and Telemundo are joining efforts to advance soccer as a means for helping children in underserved communities reach their full potential, including supporting the Foundation’s signature Soccer for Success youth program, which provides free or low-cost soccer programs during and after school at more than 250 sites nationally. Telemundo will also serve as the first official and exclusive Spanish-language media partner of the U.S. Soccer Foundation. For more information visit https://www.telemundo.com/el-poder-en-ti.

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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