The mini-pitches serve as an important extension of the club’s CITY Futures platform and provide safe places for kids to learn and play soccer
CITYPARK’s stadium lighting partner, Musco Lighting, created the Mini-Pitch System™ to help revitalize abandoned or underutilized areas and is also funding one of the new pitches
ST. LOUIS (August 16, 2023) – Continuing in the club’s mission to be an exceptional neighbor and create a lasting impact in the community through the power of sport, St. Louis CITY SC is partnering with American Family Insurance and the U.S. Soccer Foundation to make soccer more accessible to all by installing 11 mini-pitches across the St. Louis region, with the entire project designated for completion by the 2026 FIFA World Cup.
Today, CITY SC announced the first three mini-pitch locations: Ferguson; Fairmont City, Illinois; and DeSoto Park in the City of St. Louis. The DeSoto Park mini-pitch is currently in progress, with the Fairmont City mini-pitch scheduled to break ground this fall and Ferguson early next year. The remaining mini-pitch locations, with input from area residents, local park and recreation departments, and community groups, will be finalized and announced in the future.
“One of our missions as a club has always been to make soccer accessible to all,” said St. Louis CITY SC’s CEO Carolyn Kindle. “Not only will the mini-pitches provide an opportunity for residents to play soccer together, but it will also unite the community through the power of sport. We strive to be an exceptional club and neighbor and want to help grow the beautiful game by ensuring soccer can be enjoyed across the region, whether it’s through a pickup game, tournaments or training sessions. We can’t thank American Family Insurance and the U.S. Soccer Foundation enough for partnering with us on this important project.”
Mini-pitches are small, customized, hard-court surfaces that are well suited for both organized soccer and pickup games. Serving as a haven for play, mini-pitches increase soccer participation, strengthen communities and improve the lives of youth. The mini-pitches include lights to increase the number of hours children and adults use the spaces. CITY SC’s mini-pitches will be installed by Musco Lighting, the club’s stadium lighting partner and creator of the Mini-Pitch System™, in areas within a 15-mile radius of CITYPARK, particularly those lacking or offering little soccer programming, furthering CITY SC’s commitment to bringing soccer to everyone in the region.
The mini-pitches serve as an important extension of the club’s CITY Futures platform, providing children and adults access to play in spaces that will instill hope and foster well-being. In addition to events organized and staffed by St. Louis CITY SC community coaches, the club will partner with the City of St. Louis Department of Parks, Recreation and Forestry, along with other municipalities and community organizations, to create ongoing programming around the new mini-pitches.
“We’re honored to be a part of such a meaningful initiative to provide more places for community members to play soccer,” said Maureen Headrick, American Family Insurance’s Sponsorship and Events Director. “This program enables us to join CITY SC in improving access to soccer and better serve under-resourced neighborhoods, bringing residents together for healthy play and strengthening our communities.”
This program builds upon the U.S. Soccer Foundation’s mission to provide under-resourced communities with access to the beautiful game. Since 2015, the U.S. Soccer Foundation has installed more than 600 mini-pitches across the country, with the goal of installing 1,000 by 2026.
“We’re thrilled to partner with CITY SC, American Family Insurance and Musco Lighting to create 11 mini-pitches across the St. Louis region,” said Ed Foster-Simeon, the U.S. Soccer Foundation’s President & CEO. “We’ve seen how impactful mini-pitches are in creating access to the sport and transforming communities, and we want to continue being a catalyst for change in communities across the country.”
“With these mini-pitches, we want to establish a street soccer experience for our youth,” said Sascha Bauer, St. Louis CITY SC’s Director of Regional Training and Education. “Historically, street soccer has contributed worldwide to many players’ careers in learning the main ingredients of the game. Playing without adults is different – young players have more space to be creative and grow their game in the most fun way – by playing.
“Through our CITY Futures programming, our coaches help players grow their self-confidence, learn to problem-solve and better handle conflicts while establishing a culture of respectful communication through our soccer and life-skills curriculum,” he continued.
CITY Futures’ impact on the St. Louis regional community is far and wide:
• Approximately 1,500 kids have participated in CITY Futures training and clinics since the program launched in 2022
• CITY SC has coordinated more than 350 clinics, camps and training sessions
• Activities are spread across the region with 5 outdoor satellite locations and 17 different schools hosting indoor training sessions
• There are 3 World Wide Technology CITY Cup events each year, featuring up to 300 players ages 7-12
• Nearly 60 community coaches are currently on the CITY Futures roster
• Identified 34 kids to advance to the CITY Futures Select program
For renderings of the mini-pitches, click here.
ABOUT ST. LOUIS CITY SC
St. Louis CITY SC, one of the few majority female-led ownership groups in all of professional sports, was awarded Major League Soccer’s 28th expansion team in 2019 and plays at CITYPARK, a STLMade 22,500-seat world-class soccer-specific stadium. CITYPARK is part of a new stadium district which includes a practice facility, team store, and team headquarters all within the same 30+ acre urban campus in downtown St. Louis to help further the region’s continued growth and revitalization.
ABOUT AMERICAN FAMILY INSURANCE
Based in Madison, Wisconsin, American Family Insurance has been serving customers since 1927. We inspire, protect and restore dreams through our insurance products, exceptional service from our agency owners and employees, community investment, and creative partnerships to address societal challenges. We act on our belief in diversity and inclusion by constantly evolving to meet customer needs and preferences. American Family Insurance group is the nation’s 12th-largest property/casualty insurance group, ranking No. 251 on the Fortune 500 list. The group sells American Family-brand products, primarily through exclusive agency owners in 19 states. The American Family Insurance group also includes CONNECT, powered by American Family Insurance, The General, Homesite, and Main Street America Insurance. Across these companies, the group has nearly 13,000 employees nationwide.
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 MUSCO LIGHTING
Since 1976, Musco Lighting has led the world in the design and manufacture of sports and 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.