New Soccer Mini-Pitch Unveiled at Luis Muñoz Marin Middle School to Provide Recreation and Life Skills Development for Newark Youth

An innovative new soccer mini-pitch system was unveiled at Newark’s Luis Muñoz Marin School

An innovative new soccer mini-pitch system was unveiled at Newark’s Luis Muñoz Marin School

New space part of five-year, 20 mini-pitch project announced in May 2018

NEWARK, N.J. – An innovative new soccer mini-pitch system was unveiled at Newark’s Luis Muñoz Marin School on Thursday, marking the fourth mini-pitch opened this year in Newark. The opening is part of a five-year partnership with the New York Red Bulls, Newark Public Schools, U.S. Soccer Foundation and Wells Fargo to increase access to safe places to play across the city by creating 20 new soccer mini-pitches. As part of this initiative, more than 2,500 Newark youth will be engaged in Soccer for Success, the U.S. Soccer Foundation’s after-school soccer program that delivers positive health and youth development outcomes. The program will operate on many of these new sites.

“I want to thank the U.S. Soccer Foundation, the New York Red Bulls, Wells Fargo and all of our partners for investing in our schools and students and changing the face of schoolyards across the city,” said Newark Superintendent of Schools Roger León. “The new soccer pitches will allow our students to engage in physical fitness, learn the tenets of teamwork, and have fun. Partnerships that benefit our students are an essential part of our success as a district.”

Area families, members of Major League Soccer’s New York Red Bulls, Newark City officials, and representatives from the Luis Muñoz Marin School officially opened the new pitch alongside the U.S. Soccer Foundation, Wells Fargo, and Musco Lighting at an event yesterday.

“Today is another significant step in our commitment to providing mini-pitches for the children of the Newark Public Schools,” said Marc de Grandpre, General Manager, New York Red Bulls. “Thanks to the generosity of our valued partners, the U.S. Soccer Foundation and Wells Fargo, along with the support from Musco Lighting, the students of Luis Marin Muñoz Middle School will have an innovative mini-pitch that includes full lighting for safety and extensive storage for convenience. This venue will further their passion for our beautiful game.”

Mini-pitches have also been created at Belmont Runyon School, BRICK Avon Academy, and Rafael Hernandez School this year.

“Wells Fargo is proud to partner with local and national organizations on this important investment in the City of Newark,” said Gino Cammarota, Northeast Treasury Merchant Services Manager at Wells Fargo. “Being involved in organized sports at a young age provides so many valuable life lessons and this program will positively reach so many Newark students as well as other community members.”

The mini-pitch system at Luis Muñoz Marin Middle School features a complete system design that incorporates fencing, lighting, and goals. The system was developed to assist the U.S. Soccer Foundation with its national movement, It’s Everyone’s Game, which endeavors to build 1,000 mini-pitches in cities across the country by 2026 and engage one million young people annually through the Foundation’s Soccer for Success program.

“We’re grateful to have such valuable partners here in Newark who are committed to providing local youth with safe places to play,” said Ed Foster-Simeon, President & CEO of the U.S. Soccer Foundation. “We’re also excited to unveil the first mini-pitch prototype developed by one of our key national partners, Musco Lighting. Their devotion to the It’s Everyone’s Game movement is evident in their innovative approaches to providing children with safe places to play past daylight hours.”

Newark is the third municipality nationwide to make a major commitment to building safe places to play and expand sports-based youth development programs for its youth as part of this larger national movement.

National partners, including adidas, Major League Soccer, Target, and Musco are lending critical support to ensure the movement’s success.

To overcome logistical issues working with a multitude of contractors, suppliers and municipal agencies across different markets—and to avoid construction delays and site relocations—engineers at Musco developed a prototype of a comprehensive mini-pitch system.

“The U.S. Soccer Foundation’s mission of positively impacting the lives of up to a million young people in the next decade is something we believe in very strongly,” said Joe Crookham, President of Musco. “These community pitches will be a place for local youth to learn, grow, develop confidence and teamwork, and have fun. We want to do everything we can to help with this important endeavor.”

The Foundation and its partners have plans for multiple mini-pitch openings in more than a dozen cities across the country over the next several years.

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