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Three New Mini-Pitches Now Open for Play Across Kansas City

Three new mini-pitches were officially unveiled in the Kansas City metro area last week. These soccer play spaces help improve the health and well-being of young people through the world’s most popular sport.

On Tuesday, October 3, partners officially unveiled and celebrated two new mini-pitches at Central Park, which honor Black Women’s Player Collective (BWPC) and Black Players for Change (BPC). In fall 2022, BPC, BWPC, adidas, Musco Lighting, and the U.S. Soccer Foundation announced a partnership extension to create 10 mini-pitches by the end of 2023. These 10 new mini-pitches build on the 18 mini-pitches that the partners have installed together since 2020. Contributions from professional clubs Kansas City Current and Sporting Kansas City also made these projects possible in partnership with City of Kansas City and the U.S. Soccer Foundation.

The national partnership seeks to create more places to play in underserved communities and is part of larger efforts to remove systemic barriers that keep Black children from playing the game. The mini-pitches at Central Park have personal significance to BPC and BWPC members who either live, have lived, or attended school in the area.

“Empowering communities through the beautiful game is what Black Players for Change is all about,” said Executive Director of Black Players for Change Allen Hopkins Jr. “More than just a place to play, these pitches represent spaces for unity, growth, and the boundless potential of every child. As we unveil these spaces, we invite all to join us in the joy of soccer and the pursuit of positive change, echoing the heartbeat of a community united by passion and purpose.”

“The soccer mini-pitches in Central Park show how soccer is becoming more popular in our communities, especially with Kansas City being a host city for the 2026 FIFA World Cup,” said Mayor Pro Tem of Kansas City Ryana Parks-Shaw. “Our youth will have more opportunities to stay active and learn more about the sport.”

“Many organizations helped make this a reality and it has been exciting for us to see this project come to life,” said Sporting KC Director of Community Impact Chioma Atanmo. “To celebrate with players from Sporting KC, the KC Current and Central Middle School shows how our city is coming together to support the growth of soccer, especially in communities where Black kids aren’t always exposed to the game. We hope these mini-pitches get a lot of use as the city prepares for the World Cup in 2026.”

Later in the week, on October 6, the Kansas City Current and U.S. Soccer Foundation helped unveil another mini-pitch at Banneker Elementary School, installed in partnership with Musco Lighting, Target and Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools. This marks the fourth mini-pitch project the Kansas City Current has brought to the area. The mini-pitch at Banneker Elementary School also builds on more than 100 mini-pitches the U.S. Soccer Foundation and Target have installed together since 2018.

“We are incredibly grateful to all of the organizations that came together to make these mini-pitches happen at Central Park and Banneker Elementary,” said DePrice Taylor, Executive Director of Community Relations for the Kansas City Current. “Ensuring that all children have a safe space to play is a major component of our club’s mission to increase access to sports for all. It is our hope that dreams will be nurtured on these mini-pitches, so kids in our community recognize that they too can aspire to the accomplishments of our players.”

“I am thrilled to express my heartfelt gratitude to the Kansas City Current organization, the U.S. Soccer Foundation, Target, and Musco Lighting for their generous donation of a mini-pitch soccer field to Banneker Elementary School and the surrounding community,” said Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Anna Stubblefield. “This contribution is a remarkable gift that will have a lasting impact on our school community for years to come. This mini-pitch soccer field will not only provide a safe and engaging space for our students to enjoy the game of soccer, but it will also foster teamwork, physical activity, and a sense of community. It is an investment in the health and well-being of our students.”

“It’s an exciting time for soccer in Kansas City, and we couldn’t be more grateful to work with our partners to open three new mini-pitches in the area this past week,” said U.S. Soccer Foundation President & CEO Ed Foster-Simeon. “The investments made by this group of collaborators demonstrate just how much we all value this sport and its ability to improve the lives of young people.”

The three new mini-pitches across the Kansas City metro area also mark the latest development in the U.S. Soccer Foundation’s It’s Everyone’s Game national movement to ensure children in underserved communities can enjoy the health and youth development benefits of the game. To date, the U.S. Soccer Foundation has installed more than 600 mini-pitches nationwide. The goal is to install 1,000 by 2026, the year the World Cup returns to North America.

For image selects from the Central Park mini-pitch event, please click here (credit KC Current) and here (credit Sporting KC). For image selects from the Banneker Elementary School mini-pitch event, please click here (credit KC Current).

 MEDIA CONTACTS: 

Jennifer Arnold, U.S. Soccer Foundation; jarnold@ussoccerfoundation.org

Grace Rogers, Kansas City Current; grace.rogers@kansascitycurrent.com

Kurt Austin, Sporting Kansas City;                    Kurt.Austin@sportingkc.com

Markl Johnson, Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools; markl.johnson@kckps.org