Columbus Crew SC, the Columbus Crew SC Foundation, Columbus Recreation and Parks Department, and the U.S. Soccer Foundation today announced that they have begun installing two new mini-pitches in Central Ohio at Sullivant Gardens Community Center (755 Renick St, Columbus, OH 43223) and Blackburn Community Center (263 Carpenter St, Columbus, OH 43205). These mini-pitches are slated to be completed by early September. A virtual ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held upon completion, with information to be announced in the near future.
The Sullivant Gardens Community Center mini-pitch looks to positively impact the surrounding South Franklinton community just east of downtown Columbus, while the Blackburn Community Center mini-pitch hopes to have a similar positive impact on the community and youth of Franklin Park. The two new state-of-the-art mini-pitches will become the Crew SC Foundation’s latest Field Development Projects, all of which are located around the Central Ohio area and are funded by the Crew SC Foundation. The other Field Development Projects include: Innis Park Fields, Huy Road Park Field, Krumm Park Futsal Park, Antrim Park, Linden Park Mini-Pitch, McCoy Park Field and Eakin Mini-Pitch. Last year, Crew SC installed the Eakin Mini-Pitch at Eakin Elementary School.
“The Crew and the Columbus Crew SC Foundation are thrilled to announce that we have begun work on creating two new mini-pitches in our community,” said Crew SC Executive Vice President and Chief Business Office Steve Lyons. “Increasing access to safe places to play soccer helps to improve lives and communities. Our mini-pitch initiative and its associated programming is an integral part of the Haslam and Edwards Family commitment to giving back to Central Ohio. Beyond the health benefits of exercise, physical activity and the positive influence on the mental well-being of children, our mini-pitches provide a place that brings youth and families together through soccer. We applaud the hard work of the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department and also want to specifically express our appreciation to the U.S. Soccer Foundation for their leadership and generosity to help bring this project to life.”
“Playing sports helps kids stay active, and teaches self-confidence, sportsmanship and teamwork – skills that are valuable in sports and in life,” said Paul Rakosky, interim director of Columbus Recreation and Parks Department. “The donation of these two mini-pitches supports our efforts to connect kids with opportunities to help prepare for a bright future.”
Along with the creation of the mini-pitches, the U.S. Soccer Foundation will work with Sullivant Gardens Community Center and Blackburn Community Center to provide Soccer for Success programming at both locations. Soccer for Success is an after-school program that helps children establish healthy habits and develop critical life skills through trained coach-mentors and community engagement.
“It’s been exciting to witness the evolution of our partnership with Columbus Crew SC and Columbus Recreation and Parks,” said U.S. Soccer Foundation President & CEO Ed Foster-Simeon. “Now more than ever, it’s important that children have access to safe places to play and high-quality soccer programming – the mini-pitches at Sullivant Gardens Community Center and Blackburn Community Center will provide just that.”
Columbus Crew SC returns to action this week with a pair of matches as part of Phase One of the continuation of play schedule. The Black & Gold enter the week unbeaten in MLS regular-season action (4-0-1, 13 points) and stand atop of the Eastern Conference standings. The Crew hosts Chicago Fire FC at MAPFRE Stadium on Thursday, August 20 [7:30 p.m. ET / FOX Sports Ohio, FOX Sports GO (Stream) / 97.1 The Fan & 971TheFan.com (English), ColumbusCrewSC.com (Spanish)]. Following Thursday’s match, Crew SC travels to face New York City FC at Red Bull Arena on Monday, August 24 [7:30 p.m. ET / FOX Sports Ohio, FOX Sports GO (Stream) / 97.1 The Fan & 971TheFan.com (English), ColumbusCrewSC.com (Spanish)].