COLUMBUS – Columbus Crew, the Columbus Crew Foundation, Columbus City Schools and the U.S. Soccer Foundation yesterday held the grand opening of a new mini-pitch at Northgate Intermediate School (6655 Sharon Woods Blvd, Columbus, OH 43229) in the Northgate neighborhood as part of Black & Gold Week. Notably, the Northgate Mini-Pitch is the fourth mini-pitch installed in three years by the Club in collaboration with the U.S. Soccer Foundation, joining mini-pitches installed at Eakin Elementary School, at Sullivant Gardens Community Center and at Blackburn Community Center.
The mini-pitch is part of a commitment by the Columbus Crew Foundation, Lower and Nationwide to offer children in underserved communities a safe place to play, while providing a soccer environment that encourages unstructured play within local communities, supporting the continued growth of the game in North America. The mini-pitch is located less than two miles from FUGEES Academy, Community Refugee Immigration Services and Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Central Ohio.
“We feel extremely privileged to be able to open another mini-pitch in our community,” said Columbus Crew President & General Manager Tim Bezbatchenko. “Giving back to the community is one of the main tenets of the Haslams and Edwards Families, and since they began their stewardship of the Club three years ago, we have been able to open four mini-pitches in Columbus. These mini-pitches not only help create a safe space for our youth to partake in the beautiful game, but it also provides yet another place where our community can gather. We want to thank the U.S. Soccer Foundation and Columbus City Schools for their continued support in this endeavor.”
Columbus Crew Investor-Operator JW Johnson, President & General Manager Tim Bezbatchenko, Technical Director & Crew VP Pat Onstad and Crew defender Josh Williams were present at Wednesday’s ceremony. Similarly, Columbus City Council President Shannon Hardin and Columbus City Schools Superintendent and Chief Executive Officer Dr. Talisa Dixon also made an appearance at yesterday’s mini pitch announcement. The Black & Gold was honored to invite 20 current Northgate students to celebrate the opening of their new mini-pitch.
“What started as a few mini-pitches has now turned into 11 across Columbus thanks to the Crew’s commitment to growing the game locally and at the grassroots level,” said U.S. Soccer Foundation President & CEO Ed Foster-Simeon. “We’re so excited to see this partnership continue to grow as we work to ensure that all children have safe places to play and opportunities to learn critical life skills, like teamwork and perseverance, through our game.”
Along with the creation of the mini-pitches, the Columbus 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.
To learn more about the Columbus Crew Foundation’s commitment to providing soccer field space for kids in underserved communities in the Central Ohio Community, as well as to see other Crew Foundation’s field development projects, view here.