SOCCER MINI-PITCH HONORING BLACK WOMEN’S PLAYER COLLECTIVE OPENS AT SMITH ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

Atlanta, GA – A new mini soccer pitch honoring members of the Black Women’s Player Collective (BWPC) was officially unveiled at Smith Elementary School in Rex on Saturday. Joined by students and educators from the school, members from the BWPC, Musco Lighting, and the U.S. Soccer Foundation participated in a ribbon cutting at the mini-pitch as part of a grand opening celebration.

This mini-pitch is one of 12 being installed in a national partnership between Black Players for Change (BPC), the 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 creating mini-pitches in underserved areas of communities that lack access to safe places to play. The mini-pitch at Smith Elementary School honors the women of the BWPC in imagery and quotes surrounding the pitch.

Following the ribbon cutting, BWPC members Domi Richardson, Miranda Freeman, Jasmyne Spencer, and Jennifer Cudjoe led two soccer clinics for girls from the elementary school. Members expressed their excitement at the event ahead of the clinics.

“I’m so excited for this clinic. It’s an amazing opportunity to introduce young black girls to the sport of soccer and hopefully inspire them to always believe in themselves and their dreams,” said Jasmyne Spencer, BWPC board member and member of the Houston Dash.

“The opening of these mini-pitches is so exciting! Soccer has been a way to help me build valuable life skills and character and has always allowed me to express myself,” said Domi Richardson, member of BWPC and Gotham FC. “Being able to provide a space for these kids to play a sport that can unlock so many avenues for the future is one of the best ways to give back to our community. Soccer is so much more than just a sport and I hope that these mini-pitches and clinics provide joy for everyone involved!”

“The opening of the mini-pitches and the opportunities they will provide kids of color to play and develop in a safe environment is so incredible and important,” said Mandy Freeman, member of BWPC and Gotham FC. “I am really looking forward to the clinic! I believe it will truly be an invaluable experience for both the kids and all the BWPC players involved. The representation of Black women in soccer needs to be showcased more and this is an amazing opportunity to do so.”

“Growing up as a kid, I never saw a playground like the mini-pitches. It is really amazing and exciting to see the opening of the mini-pitches and be a part of it,” said Jennifer Cudjoe, member of BWPC and Gotham FC. “Soccer has always given me a sense of peace and happiness in my life. It also gave me the opportunity to express myself without saying a word. This is an incredible opportunity for me to be part of this group, give back to the next generation, and teach them the value of the game and the impact it can have on our lives.”

In addition to the mini-pitch at Smith Elementary School, mini-pitches honoring BPC and BWPC have been completed in Hawthorne, CA, San Diego, CA, Orlando, FL, Indianapolis, IN, and Louisville, KY as part of the national partnership with adidas, Musco Lighting, and the U.S. Soccer Foundation.

“We’re thrilled to continue opening and celebrating mini-pitches that honor members of the BWPC and BPC,” said Ed Foster-Simeon, President & CEO of the U.S. Soccer Foundation. “Research shows that Black communities are significantly more likely to lack recreational facilities than white communities and that Black girls are less likely to play soccer than their white peers. This initiative is changing that reality. We will continue working with our with our partners to provide more opportunities for youth—regardless of their race, gender, or socioeconomic status—to gain all the lifelong benefits that come with playing our game.”

“This is a really impactful initiative that we think will make a big difference in the lives of youth in Rex for years to come,” said Jeff Rogers, President of Musco Lighting. “We applaud Black Players for Change and the Black Women’s Player Collective, as well as the U.S. Soccer Foundation and our other partners, for their dedication to expanding recreational and learning opportunities for these families. We look forward to keeping this momentum going and continuing with this important work.”

Earlier this month, BWPC announced that adidas will serve as a long-term partner of the organization and help them change the narrative of Black women and girls in soccer by demanding equity, representation, and access at all levels of the game.

Other partners have also joined this effort in support of the BPC and the BWPC.

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 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 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 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 CONTACT:

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

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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.

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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