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Global Apr 22, 2024

U.S. Soccer Foundation celebrates opening of 700th mini-pitch

Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Soccer Foundation recently opened its 700th mini-pitch at Sandstone Ridge Park in North Las Vegas.

This project represents a significant milestone in the Foundation’s goal of creating 1,000 new mini-pitches and engaging millions of young people on the road to the FIFA World Cup 26™ – as well a total $70 million social impact investment made in under-resourced communities to date. The 700th mini-pitch will be opened in partnership with soccer legend, NBC sports analyst, and former USMNT Goalkeeper Tim Howard and the City of North Las Vegas.

Mini-pitches are small, customized, hard-court surfaces that are perfectly suited for both organized soccer and pick-up games. Ideal for urban areas and other communities where space is at a premium, mini-pitches increase soccer and physical activity time, improve community safety perceptions, and strengthen communities.

“While soccer is having its moment in the spotlight in the lead up to the 2026 Men’s World Cup, we want millions of kids to have their moment, too,” said Ed Foster-Simeon, President & CEO of the U.S. Soccer Foundation. “Today marks a huge milestone in ensuring that our game delivers positive outcomes for youth living in under-resourced communities. With the opening of our 700th mini-pitch, we know that hundreds of thousands of youth now have safe places to play and enjoy the many health and youth development benefits of soccer who might not have otherwise had an opportunity to do so.”

Survey data collected by the U.S. Soccer Foundation shows that mini-pitches provide many benefits to the community:

· 99% say that people in their community are more active after installation of a mini-pitch.

· 98% say that their community feels safer after installation of a mini-pitch.

· 96% say that their mini-pitch is accessible to all.

· 91% say their mini-pitch serves as a community hub.

Mini-pitches are also making the world’s most popular sport and its lifelong benefits more accessible to communities in a time when the game’s popularity is growing on the road to 2026. More than 30% of mini-pitch users are new to soccer, and communities report that five times more soccer is played at sites after the installation of a mini-pitch.

Since the first mini-pitch was installed in 2015, major corporations, organizations, and athletes have teamed up with the Foundation to create mini-pitches in underserved communities across the country. Major supporters of the work include adidas, the DICK’S Sporting Goods Foundation, Target, Major League Soccer, Musco Lighting, and Griffin Catalyst, the civic engagement initiative of Citadel Founder and CEO Ken Griffin.

While this pitch represents the second project that Tim Howard has funded through the Tim Howard Foundation, other notable athletes have supported the Foundation in creating, funding, and lending their names to “signature” mini-pitches. These athletes include Tyler Adams, Kellyn Acosta, Crystal Dunn, Alex Morgan, and Kelley O’Hara, among others. The Foundation has also installed more than 20 mini-pitches with Black Players for Change and Black Women’s Player Collective in communities of significance to the organizations and their members.

In 2018, Musco Lighting designed a new and enhanced Mini-Pitch System™ alongside the U.S. Soccer Foundation. Now used for all Foundation mini-pitch projects, the system is complete with lights to increase the number of hours children and adults use the space, benches to watch play unfold, ADA-compliant access, and lockable storage for equipment.

The Foundation’s mini-pitches can be found in hundreds of communities across the country. Mini-pitches in New York City, Miami, and Los Angeles are also sites for the Foundation’s Just Ball League, which creates opportunities for league play at the neighborhood level and prioritizes fun, inclusion, and belonging. The hyper-local approach reduces the need for transportation and lowers costs, two of the main barriers to participation in sport for children in under-resourced communities. More than 15,000 youth are currently participating in the league across the three cities.

The U.S. Soccer Foundation is leading national legacy efforts to ensure the FIFA World Cup 26™ contributes to positive social impact in the years leading up to and following the tournament, working with several Host Cities and as the official Legacy Strategy Partner of FIFA World Cup 26 New York New Jersey™.

To find a mini-pitch near you, check out the U.S. Soccer Foundation’s mini-pitch map. To learn more about mini-pitches, visit:

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