Continuing its mission of steadily building more soccer playing spaces for kids in Central Florida, The Orlando City Foundation dedicated its fourth mini pitch facility at the Boys and Girls Club of Central Florida’s Walt Disney World Clubhouse location.
The new mini pitch, also known as a futsal court, marks the Foundation’s first facility outside of the Club’s future stadium home of Parramore—furthering its expansion goals to include the greater Orlando area.
The Foundation aims to use the sport of soccer as a tool to minimize the risk of childhood obesity. By embedding themselves with established after-school programs, the Foundation uses the Club’s positive influence and role models to teach the fundamentals needed to lead healthy and active lifestyles.
Over $90,000 has been invested in mini pitch facilities this season, in collaboration with US Soccer and MLS WORKS—the community arm for Major League Soccer—who have an aggressive goal of bringing 20 mini pitches across the league’s clubs. Orlando will lead with six by the end of 2016.
“We’ve seen the benefits of creating these mini pitches and offering the Soccer for Success program,” said Kay Rawlins, the Vice President of Community Relations & Foundation President. “It’s a great way to offer kids a positive activity that can help form good habits, while they are waiting to go home in after school programs. Our kids have shown huge improvements, especially in the areas of attendance on days the program is implemented.”
The Foundation installed its first mini pitch in October 2015 at John H. Jackson Community Center, which saw the launch of the first series of Soccer for Success in Orlando. The program has reached 150 children ranging from 7 to 13 years of age. The programs are also offered at Frontline Outreach Youth and Family Center and Hankins Park.