COLUMBUS — Columbus Crew, the Columbus Crew Foundation, Columbus City Schools and the U.S. Soccer Foundation today announced that they are set to install a new mini-pitch in Central Ohio at Northgate Intermediate School (6655 Sharon Woods Blvd, Columbus, OH 43229) in the Northgate neighborhood. Installation of the new mini-pitch is slated to begin in June and is expected to be completed by early July.
“The investment in field development projects such as this mini-pitch at Northgate Intermediate has granted local youth the chance to play in a safe environment. Columbus Crew, along with the Columbus Crew Foundation are privileged to be able to provide a new safe space where members of our community can engage in the sport we all love,” said Crew Executive Vice President, Chief Business Officer Steve Lyons. “Our mission as a professional soccer club is to ignite an unrelenting passion for soccer in Columbus, and part of that is creating places that allow for that passion to be explored. Thank you to Columbus City Schools for their involvement in the programming and to the U.S. Soccer Foundation for their dedication to helping us grow the game in Columbus.”
The Northgate Intermediate mini-pitch will become the Crew Foundation’s 11th Field Development Project, all of which are located around the Central Ohio area and are funded by the Crew Foundation. The mini-pitch at Northgate Intermediate is part of a commitment by the Haslam and Edwards families to create safe spaces to play for underserved communities, while providing a soccer environment that encourages the continued growth of the game in the city. As a founding level partner, Nationwide Insurance will play a key role in supporting all Crew mini-pitch initiatives throughout its multi-year partnership. Their mini-pitch support will be featured through various volunteer opportunities, and signage efforts.
“The Crew continues to show up for its community and we are thrilled the partnership continues to grow each year,” said Ed Foster-Simeon, President & CEO of the U.S. Soccer Foundation. “This new mini-pitch, like the others, will provide more young people of Columbus with a safe place to play, high-quality soccer programming, and more opportunities to reap the game’s many benefits.”
The mini-pitch will be located less than two miles from FUGEES Academy, Community Refugee Immigration Services and Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Central Ohio. Additional 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 installed the mini-pitches at Sullivant Gardens Community Center and Blackburn Community Center.
Two local players who have benefitted from the Crew's initiative are Hassan Abdi and Ibrahim Barud, who frequently trained at the Sullivant Gardens Community Center mini-pitch with members of their previous club. Both Abdi and Barud were recently identified by staff members of the Crew and have since joined the Crew Academy.
To learn more about the Crew Foundation’s commitment to providing soccer field space for challenged youth in the Central Ohio Community, as well as to see other Crew Foundation’s Field Development Projects, visit ColumbusCrew.com/GiveForward.
Along with the creation of the mini-pitches, the Crew Foundation will work with the U.S. Soccer Foundation to provide Soccer for Success programming at Northgate Intermediate. 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.
“For more than a decade, Columbus Crew has been a major contributor to our mission of empowering this city’s young people,” said Dr. Talisa Dixon, Superintendent and CEO of Columbus City Schools. “Healthy bodies fuel active minds, and playing sports is a proven way to keep children healthy, teach them to work successfully as part of a team, and boost their energy and confidence. Columbus City Schools is proud to have Columbus Crew, U.S. Soccer, and Nationwide Insurance on our team and supporting our students on and off the field.”