Columbus Crew SC Investor-Operator Dr. Pete Edwards joined Gene Smith, director of athletics at The Ohio State University, and Ann Fisher, host of All Sides with Ann Fisher on 89.7 NPR News, for a discussion on the prominent role sports play in American society on Thursday, March 21 at the Gateway Film Center in Columbus’ University District.
Starting with a conversational dialogue before taking questions from audience members, the panel discussed topics, among others, such as the role of sports in the structure of youth education and the unique pathways sports offer; the Crew SC organization’s role as a civic leader in the community; and how soccer – and sports as a whole – serves as a unifier for cities and communities.
On how Crew SC aims to play an active role in the community, Dr. Edwards spoke on the accessibility soccer provides and how the organization aims to keep kids engaged, healthy, and educated by facilitating more avenues to play.
“Part of our role in being a community asset with the Crew is that we want to create avenues where our youth can be active,” Edwards said. “Our goal is to provide avenues where it’s safe for kids to be active and more healthy. We know that if kids are engaged in athletics and they are happy and they are active, they stay in school better and are more engaged in life and they’re ultimately going to do better.
“So I think we need to encourage that, and that’s our goal as mentors in the community; is to hopefully promote volunteerism and to promote kids being out and being active, and soccer is a great way to do it because you can have a pick-up game with two people, three people – you don’t need a team.”
In line with the topic of sports and society, yesterday's discussion came nearly four weeks after the Columbus Crew SC Foundation's unveiling of a state-of-the-art mini-pitch to be built on the grounds of Eakin Elementary School, which serves the Wedgewood community in Columbus' Hilltop Neighborhood.
Funded by the Columbus Crew SC Foundation and in partnership with the U.S. Soccer Foundation, Columbus City Schools, and Columbus Recreation and Parks, construction of the mini-pitch is scheduled to break ground in early Summer 2019, with the scheduled opening date set for mid-to-late Summer 2019.