Three city parks eyed for mini soccer pitches donated by U.S. Soccer Foundation

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Photo via U.S. Soccer Foundation/Facebook

A trio of Baltimore City parks could soon be equipped with mini soccer fields–well, more like courts, really–paid for by the U.S. Soccer Foundation.

The D.C.-based soccer philanthropy and advocacy organization plans to fund and build three $60,000 “mini-pitches” at Desoto Park in Southwest Baltimore’s Morrell Park neighborhood, the Farring-Baybrook Recreation Center in Brooklyn and Betty Hyatt Community Park in Washington Hill, according to the city’s spending board agenda for tomorrow.

“The mini-pitch will provide an accessible and dedicated space for public recreational activities and soccer in each community,” the agenda reads in part.

A spokeswoman for the foundation, the country’s largest charitable soccer organization, says all three sites “have been proposed by the Foundation in partnership with the Parks & Rec department.”

The donations would come as part of the nonprofit’s “Safe Places to Play” program. The foundation has partnered with sports-lighting firm Musco Lighting on a modular soccer field design, roughly the size of a basketball or tennis court, for underserved areas around the country. They come with lighting to allow for after-hours play, plus storage and benches.

The foundation is partnering with MLS teams, corporations and others to install 1,000 of them by 2026.

“We’re creating these mini-pitches right in the neighborhoods where kids live and go to school so they are easy for kids to access,” U.S. Soccer Foundation president and CEO Ed Foster-Simeon said in a statement last week.

The spokesperson said more than 200 pitches have already debuted around the country. That tally includes a D.C. United-themed one that opened in D.C.’s Petworth neighborhood last year.

This story has been updated.

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Ethan McLeod

Senior Editor at Baltimore Fishbowl
Ethan has been editing and reporting for Baltimore Fishbowl since fall of 2016. His previous stops include Fox 45, CQ Researcher and Connection Newspapers in Virginia. His freelance writing has been featured in CityLab, Slate, Baltimore City Paper, DCist and elsewhere.
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