CHICAGO (Dec. 21, 2021) – Chicago Fire FC and the Chicago Soccer Initiative partners – Chicago Park District, the Kenneth C. Griffin Charitable Fund, and the U.S. Soccer Foundation - today announced the completion of 50 mini-pitches that are now open at Chicago Parks locations across the city. The initiative, which was first announced in December 2017, was finished a full year ahead of its expected completion.
“The completion of the 50 mini-pitches across the city of Chicago represents an incredible milestone for the Chicago Soccer Initiative that began nearly four years ago,” said Chicago Fire Foundation Executive Director Jessica Yavitz. “This initiative emphasizes the importance that our Club and partners, in the case of the 50th pitch, United Airlines, place on providing a safe place for the community to play soccer, create friendships and instill an active, healthy lifestyle.”
The 50th mini-pitch is now part of more than 450 pitches that the U.S. Soccer Foundation has installed and opened nationwide on its path to create 1,000 mini-pitches by 2026. In addition to creating these new state-of-the art places to play into neighborhoods across Chicago – with a large concentration of the mini-pitches in the city’s south and west sides - partners have worked to increase access to free, high-quality programming on the mini-pitches and ensure that they are open for pick-up play.
“Four years ago in Chicago, we announced that our team at the U.S. Soccer Foundation was going to dramatically scale our work by installing 1,000 mini-pitches and engaging 1 million children in underserved communities by 2026,” said Ed Foster-Simeon, President & CEO of the U.S. Soccer Foundation. “I’m thrilled that we have made great progress toward our goals, and its thanks to partners like those here in Chicago who have worked alongside us to help more children in underserved communities’ benefit from all the social, emotional, and health benefits our game provides.”
To celebrate the completion of all 50 mini-pitches, the Chicago Soccer Initiatives and partners will host an event in spring 2022.
“We are thrilled to work together to give local youth access to state-of-the-art soccer practice facilities,” said Chicago Park District Interim General Superintendent & CEO Rosa Escareño. “The 50-mini-pitches are more than just an investment in our parks, it’s also an investment in our kids, local communities, and city.”
To find a mini-pitch location near you, visit https://ussoccerfoundation.org/map/.