NY Red Bulls, US Soccer Foundation unveil new effort to bring soccer to minority communities
The New York Red Bulls unveiled a new mini-pitch at West Side High School in Newark.
The mini-pitch is more than just a place for children in the community to play soccer – but also about racial equality.
“It's really important that we open these doors and provide opportunities for these individuals to develop life skills, like teamwork, perseverance, mental toughness,” says Red Bulls goalkeeper Kendall McIntosh.
The mini-pitch was dedicated by Red Bulls players and representatives from the U.S. Soccer Foundation. The pitch honors Black Players for Change – a group of soccer players within Major League Soccer who are working to bridge the racial equality gap that exists in society.
“81% of children in households making $25,000 or less are not participating in organized sports,” says U.S. Soccer Foundation president and CEO Ed Foster-Simeon. “They can’t afford to, so they are left out of this critical learning platform.”
This is the first of 12 mini-pitches that are being built across the country to honor Black Players for Change. Each one will be decorated with unique murals to inspire local kids in the community.
“Children when they come to play this game, they can see people who look like them, who are actually successful and have reached the highest levels,” Foster-Simeon says.
Players say that the mini-pitch effort is a good first step in their work toward removing systemic barriers that keep children in underserved communities from playing soccer.
“I think that the more that we can continue to reinvest in these communities of color, the more socially and equitable our communities and societies will become,” McIntosh says.
The pitch will be used by the West Side High School soccer team and children from the Newark community.