1. What is Safe Places to Play?
The U.S. Soccer Foundation’s Safe Places to Play program brings safe soccer playing spaces to neighborhoods and communities that lack safe recreational spaces. Through the program, the Foundation transforms underutilized areas, by building safe soccer play spaces that all community residents can use.
2. What does it mean that Target is a national Safe Places to Play partner?
As a national Safe Places to Play partner, Target has committed to working with the U.S. Soccer Foundation to build 100 soccer play spaces by the end of 2020.
3. What types of soccer play spaces are Target and the U.S. Soccer Foundation building?
Target and the U.S. Soccer Foundation are building ‘mini-pitches’—small soccer play spaces that are designed to fit in areas where space is at a premium, and perfectly suited for both organized programs and pick-up games.
Each mini-pitch is a hard court, soccer-specific play space that is approximately 7,200 square feet in size, with an acrylic overlay surface similar to those utilized for basketball and tennis courts. Each mini-pitch will also include a pair of permanent goals secured into the surface with tamper-proof anchors, as well as fencing to ensure the safety of those using the pitch. See examples and learn more about mini-pitches.
4. How many play spaces will be built and over what time period?
One hundred soccer play spaces will be built in communities across the country over the next three years, with the project culminating at the end of 2020.
5. Where will these play spaces be built?
Target and the U.S. Soccer Foundation are currently doing a needs assessment to identify communities with play deserts that have an immediate need for safe playing spaces. Specific locations are still being determined by Target and the U.S. Soccer Foundation team.
6. How are sites being selected?
Once the team has completed its needs assessment, Target and the U.S. Soccer Foundation will work closely with community and city agencies in selected markets to determine specific site locations in historically underserved communities. Additionally, site selection will be based on considerations of the physical space, environment, proximity to potential programming partners and existing site conditions, among other factors.
7. How can I suggest a location where a play space should be built?
In the coming weeks, you’ll be able to suggest a mini-pitch location to the U.S. Soccer Foundation. Due to the number of requests, we will not be able to respond to each one, but your potential location will be kept on file as part of the U.S. Soccer Foundation’s national database, which is one tool that is used to determine locations for Safe Places to Play projects. When submitting your site suggestion, it is helpful for you to indicate if you are the landowner or have been in contact with the landowner of the potential site, as this is one of the considerations when determining mini-pitch locations.
8. Will the play spaces be open to the public?
Yes, the soccer mini-pitches are designed for public use, though final decisions on usage will fall on the landowners in each selected market. Additionally, the U.S. Soccer Foundation will work with each community to ensure that each mini-pitch offers scheduling priority for programming offered free to youth participants. By working to develop shared-use agreements, the Foundation will also strive to ensure there are designated times that the mini-pitches are open for public use by all community residents.
9. How will the Target and the U.S. Soccer Foundation ensure the mini-pitches are available to the community?
Target and the U.S. Soccer Foundation will work closely with community partners to ensure that each mini-pitch offers programming free to participants, as well as serve as a community hub for years to come. The community—including school leaders, local government officials, and other community-serving organizations—will be involved in the project in an effort to ensure programming is available on each mini-pitch, as well as open access for all community residents when possible.
10. Where can I go to find out more information as new sites are selected and projects are completed?
To stay up-to-date on this partnership, and other exciting U.S. Soccer Foundation news, become a Foundation ‘Insider’ and sign-up to receive regular e-mail updates about our work. You can also follow the project on social media via the Foundation’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages.
11. I’ve heard that Target also announced a youth soccer grant opportunity. What are those and where can I apply?
Target also recently committed $8 million over the next four years to launch a grant program to increase access to soccer for youth across the country, supporting player registration fees, player and field equipment, and professional development for volunteer coaches, with preference given to programs serving in-need communities. Through a national application process, Target will provide $1,000 grants to eligible schools, government agencies, non-profit organizations and non-profit regional/local soccer organization on behalf of each Target store and distribution center in the U.S. All eligible organizations can apply online at Target.com/grants through September 30. The first year of grants will be awarded in November 2017.