Twelve new mini-pitches, with Black Women’s Player Collective (BWPC) and Black Players for Change (BPC) leading the way, are being created in communities nationwide.
The organizations, which feature Black players and leaders across Major League Soccer and the National Women’s Soccer League, have partnered with adidas, Musco Lighting and the U.S. Soccer Foundation to provide greater access and opportunity for children of color to play soccer.
“These mini-pitches are the BWPC’s first tangible product of all the work we have been doing behind the scenes and we are thrilled for them to come to fruition so soon,” Sky Blue FC player Margaret Purce, executive director of BWPC, said in a release. “These spaces will be critical to our mission of empowering young Black girls and increasing lasting opportunity for sport and community fostered through play. We hope children of all ages enjoy these pitches and create longstanding, memorable experiences for their communities.”
We are excited to announce our collaboration to increase access to soccer for children of color & create 12 new mini-pitches w/ @BPCMLS @adidassoccer @MuscoLighting @ussoccerfndn! #EveryoneGame#TogetherThereWillBeChange#Adidasfootballcollective pic.twitter.com/bR2fLzXVg3— Black Women’s Player Collective (@BWP_Collective) January 12, 2021
The first two mini-pitches were recently completed at two locations in California: RH Dana Middle School in Hawthorne and the Clairemont Branch of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater San Diego. Several members of both organizations are from the surrounding areas.
“BPC is committed to tackling the racial injustices that have limited Black people from having an equitable stake in the game of soccer and society,” Toronto FC left back Justin Morrow, co-founder and executive director of BPC, said in a release. “That’s why we are thrilled that BWPC has joined this effort, because our collective voice and support will go a lot further in making strides toward a more just society and equitable representation at all levels of the sport.”
"The joining of BWPC & BPC is not only a monumental moment in Black Soccer history, but #USSoccer history. Creating paths to build equity in our game for those who have until just recently been w/o access, required a commitment & dedication to a long-term vision @QuincyAmarikwa pic.twitter.com/CzeX4hWrVW— Black Players For Change (@BPCMLS) January 12, 2021
Either virtually or if it’s safe in-person, BPC and BWPC members plan to visit the pitches and meet with local players to discuss their experiences and issues facing communities of color. They’ll also work to ensure that the pitches are open for pick-up play and programs like the U.S. Soccer Foundation’s Soccer for Success program.
“We are delighted to work with BPC and BWPC on this mini-pitch initiative,” Ed Foster-Simeon, president & CEO of the U.S. Soccer Foundation, said in a release. “The players are not only involved in the creation of the new spaces, but also in hosting critical conversations with youth in these communities about overcoming the many challenges they face. We know that the impact of these spaces will be felt well beyond the pitch.”