Nashville Major League Soccer (Nashville MLS) has partnered with the U.S. Soccer Foundation and United Way of Metropolitan Nashville to build a small soccer field, also known as a mini-pitch, in the culturally rich community of North Nashville at the McGruder Family Resource Center (2013 25th Ave N, Nashville, TN 37208), the club announced on Friday. The project also involves support from Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools and Catholic Charities of Tennessee.
"The mini-pitch at McGruder Family Resource Center is an exciting first step in Nashville MLS community outreach, and we're pleased to partner with the U.S. Soccer Foundation to bring access to soccer to this community," said Nashville MLS CEO, Ian Ayre. "Our club has the unique opportunity to provide practical pathways to the game of soccer for youth across Nashville, and we look forward to creating more opportunity around our city for everyone to enjoy and benefit from this beautiful game."
The Nashville mini-pitch is part of a league-wide commitment to leaving a positive and lasting impact in the areas where our clubs live and play. Major League Soccer and our clubs have built hundreds of fields across the U.S. and Canada, with many more anticipated to be built in the coming years. The development of the newest mini-pitch in Nashville, built by the U.S. Soccer Foundation, will also provide programming, training and resources. Construction on the McGruder mini-pitch will begin in early November and is expected to be completed by early December.
"The McGruder Center is a hub of activity, resources and opportunity for the surrounding North Nashville community, and this mini-pitch will be a valuable addition," said Erica Mitchell, Chief Community Impact Officer, United Way. "We are grateful to Nashville MLS and U.S. Soccer Foundation for their investment in this community and what it will mean for the children and families we serve."
Soccer's popularity in the U.S. has tripled, and the sport has also seen similar growth in Canada during the last decade. Dynamic players combined with a passionate, millennial-fueled supporter culture that provides an exhilarating live experience at every match, has made MLS quickly become one of the world's top soccer leagues. This was accomplished in part by authentically engaging with communities through the game, all while assisting with developing the next generations of fans and players and that is a core part of Nashville MLS.
"We are excited about this program and what it will mean for the youth and families who will benefit from it," said Marcus Whitney, Co-Owner of Nashville Soccer Club and President of Briovation. "Soccer is more than a sport, it's about opportunity, and the new opportunity this mini-pitch brings to children and families in this community is truly limitless."
A grand opening event will be hosted later this year following completion of the mini-pitch.
About Nashville MLS
Nashville MLS is Nashville's Major League Soccer (MLS) Club. MLS awarded the team to Nashville in December 2017. Learn more about Nashville MLS at www.mls2nashville.com.
About the U.S. Soccer Foundation
The U.S. Soccer Foundation's programs are the national model for sports-based youth development in underserved communities. Since its founding in 1994, the Foundation has established programs proven to help children embrace an active and healthy lifestyle while nurturing their personal growth beyond sports. Its cost-effective, high-impact initiatives offer safe environments where kids and communities thrive. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the U.S. Soccer Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization. For more information visit www.ussoccerfoundation.org or follow us on Twitter at @ussoccerfndn and Facebook at www.facebook.com/ussoccerfoundation.
About McGruder Family Resource Center
The McGruder Family Resource Center is part of United Way's community network of family resource centers. The center is a partnership of health and social service providers, residents, schools, businesses and faith-based organizations, all working together to build on the strengths and address the needs of the neighborhood. By offering a coordinated and holistic approach to providing services and support and by focusing on the strengths and assets of the people who live, work and go to school in the neighborhood, the McGruder Family Resource Center helps build community and increases the wellbeing of children and families. For more information, click here.