Washington, D.C. – Black Players for Change (BPC), Black Women’s Player Collective (BWPC), adidas, Musco Lighting, and the U.S. Soccer Foundation are extending their partnership and will create 10 more mini-pitches by the end of 2023. The new mini-pitches will be installed in the Chicago, Cleveland, Kansas City, Miami, and Portland, OR markets. The communities were selected by members of BPC and BWPC as areas of significance for the organizations to create more opportunities for children of color—specifically Black children—to learn and play the game.
These 10 new mini-pitches build on the 18 mini-pitches that the partners have installed together since 2020 in Alexandria, VA; Durham, NC; Fresno, CA; Hawthorne, CA; Houston, TX; Indianapolis, IN; Kissimmee, FL; Louisville, KY; New York, NY; Newark, NJ; Rex, GA; Sacramento, CA; San Diego, CA; and Woodbridge, VA. Collectively, the 18 mini-pitches have provided more than 10,000 young people access to the game.
“BPC is honored to continue to work alongside BWPC, Musco Lighting, U.S. Soccer Foundation, and adidas to be a positive impact in communities through this mini-pitch initiative,” said Quincy Amarikwa, Founder & Executive Director of BPC. “We are grateful for the past, present, and future generations who have attended, the community organizers that have helped push forward to realize the vision and mission of this initiative, and the organizations who partnered with us in each activation. We look forward to another year of creating safe spaces for communities to connect the work with an amazing group of people.”
“The mini-pitch initiative has been one of the most important projects for the BWPC and I can’t express enough how elated we are that we get to continue this project with our very dedicated partners, the BPC, Musco Lighting, U.S. Soccer Foundation, and adidas,” said Ifeoma Onumonu, board member of BWPC. “We have witnessed firsthand how much these pitches mean to a community. Every time we have a clinic or opening on a mini-pitch, we are immediately asked when we’re coming back. These pitches not only provide a safe place to play, but they also become a center where connection and community can bloom.”
This initiative builds on the U.S. Soccer Foundation’s long-standing work to provide underserved communities access to innovative play spaces and evidence-based soccer programs that instill hope, foster well-being, and help youth achieve their fullest potential. According to Active Living Research, one study found that more than 70% of African American and Hispanic neighborhoods did not have any recreational facilities. By comparison, only 38% of white neighborhoods lacked recreational facilities. Furthermore, only about one-third of Black and Hispanic children ages 6 to 12 play sports on a regular basis according to Aspen Institute Project Play’s State of Play. This continued partnership aims to change these realities and provide more access for communities of color to play the game.
“We’re thrilled to continue our partnership with BPC and BWPC alongside our longtime partners adidas and Musco Lighting,” said Ed Foster-Simeon, President & CEO of the U.S. Soccer Foundation. “Not only do these mini-pitches provide safe places to play, they also provide role models through the connections made with professional athletes who look like them.”
“We’re excited and proud to continue our partnership with Black Players for Change and the Black Women’s Player Collective and install 10 new mini-pitches in 2023,” said Jeff Rogers, President of Musco. “This initiative is about providing access to high-quality recreational spaces and programming for kids and communities that lack those resources. Working towards equity and inclusion has always been a core piece of what we do at Musco. This partnership with BPC, BWPC, adidas, and the U.S. Soccer Foundation has provided a lot of youth with fun places to play while empowering them with skills that will help them reach their full potential as adults. We look forward to continuing with this important work.”
The announcement was made in Washington, D.C. ahead of a clinic that members of BWPC hosted at Hendley Elementary School today–one day before the NWSL Championship at Audi Field. During the clinic, students from Hendley had the opportunity to meet and talk with BWPC members about their journey to the professional league and hone their soccer skills on a mini-pitch. Members from BPC, Musco Lighting, and the U.S. Soccer Foundation were also on hand to support the clinic.
The Hendley Elementary mini-pitch is part of the D.C. Soccer Initiative, a city-wide partnership between U.S. Soccer Foundation, The A. James & Alice B. Clark Foundation, MLS Players Association, and Target to bring 10 mini-pitches to DC Public Schools by spring 2023.
For more information about the initiative, visit: https://ussoccerfoundation.org/programs/black-players-for-change-black-womens-player-collective-mini-pitch-initiative/
ABOUT BLACK PLAYERS FOR CHANGE
Black Players for Change (BPC) is an independent organization consisting of over 170+ players, coaches and staff from 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 discrimination. 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 THE 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
Sirena Amarikwa, Black Players for Change
Eduardo Zamarripa, Musco Lighting