Minnesota United, Saint Paul Parks & Recreation Department, Target and the U.S. Soccer Foundation together unveiled a new mini-pitch at Hamline Park on Friday. Just blocks from Allianz Field, the new mini-pitch will be an accessible place for local community members to play soccer, while also supporting local youth soccer programming and encouraging free play.
Minnesota United executives and players, Mayor Carter, St. Paul Parks & Recreation officials and representatives from Target and the U.S. Soccer Foundation were all in attendance to celebrate the new play space. The event included local youth soccer players who got to officially open the mini-pitch with a first kick and scrimmages, coached by Minnesota United players Hassani Dotson, Michael Boxall, Lawrence Olum, and Wyatt Omsberg. Target also provided a variety of activities, including a photo booth, DJ and interactive soccer games, as part of the community celebration.
“The driving purpose of MNUFC is to ‘promote soccer, the world's game and through it inspire and unite our community,’” said MNUFC CEO Chris Wright. “In partnering with the U.S. Soccer Foundation and Target we believe we can impact the lives of many in the Hamline Community and greater Saint Paul with this incredible facility and mini-pitch.”
“We’re thrilled to open the first mini-pitch in our hometown, as we partner with the U.S. Soccer Foundation to build 100 soccer play spaces in communities across the country through 2020,” said Target Senior Vice President of Marketing William White. “These spaces bring joy to all families, and Target is proud of the role we play in helping unlock access to this sport for parents and kids alike through our $14 million investment in youth soccer.”
“Target has been an incredible partner and is integral in our efforts to create mini-pitches nationwide,” said U.S. Soccer Foundation President & CEO Ed Foster-Simeon. “We are excited unveil a new mini-pitch right in their backyard and provide more children in the area with safe places to play where they can develop critical life skills through our game.”
Throughout the month of October, freestylers from Joga Bonito soccer will run two-hour sessions on the new mini-pitch for the community to enjoy.
This mini-pitch is the latest development in the the U.S. Soccer Foundation’s It’s Everyone’s Game movement, which aims to build 1,000 safe play spaces and reach one million participants in Soccer for Success programming by 2026.
Target is a national partner in the effort and has committed to creating 100 mini-pitches with the Foundation through 2020.