Two new soccer mini-pitches were unveiled on Tuesday at Central Park (Linwood Blvd. and Bales Ave.) in Kansas City, Missouri in an effort to improve the health and well-being of the region’s youth through soccer.
Led by the U.S. Soccer Foundation, local and national partners teamed up to fund and install the mini-pitches which feature hard-court surfaces uniquely suited for both organized and pick-up play. Sporting KC and The Victory Project, the club’s philanthropic foundation, were among a group of stakeholders to support the mini-pitches locally along with the Kansas City Current and Kansas City, Missouri Parks and Recreation.
In addition, adidas, Black Players for Change, Black Women’s Player Collective and Musco Lighting also partnered to make the project possible. The national partnership seeks to create more places to play in underserved communities and is part of larger efforts to remove systemic barriers that keep Black children from playing the game.
"Many organizations helped make this a reality and it has been exciting for us to see this project come to life," said Sporting KC Director of Community Impact Chioma Atanmo. "To celebrate with players from Sporting KC, the KC Current and Central Middle School shows how our city is coming together to support the growth of soccer, especially in communities where Black kids aren't always exposed to the game. We hope these mini-pitches get a lot of use as the city prepares for the World Cup in 2026."
Seven Sporting Kansas City players were in attendance on Tuesday for the unveil as forward Stephen Afrifa, forward Willy Agada, midfielder Gadi Kinda, goalkeeper Kendall McIntosh, defender Logan Ndenbe, defender Kayden Pierre and forward Khiry Shelton joined six players from the Kansas City Current, as well as Mayor Pro Tem of Kansas City Ryana Parks-Shaw and the Central Middle School boys and girls soccer teams, to celebrate the official opening of the mini-pitches.
“The soccer mini-pitches in Central Park show how soccer is becoming more popular in our communities, especially with Kansas City being a host city for the 2026 FIFA World Cup,” said Parks-Shaw. “Our youth will have more opportunities to stay active and learn more about the sport.”
The new mini-pitches mark the latest development in the U.S. Soccer Foundation’s It’s Everyone’s Game national movement to ensure children in underserved communities can enjoy the health and youth development benefits of the game. To date, the U.S. Soccer Foundation has installed more than 650 mini-pitches nationwide, highlighted by six mini-pitch locations in the Kansas City area: Central Park (2023), Banneker Elementary (2023), Ashland Square Park (2022), Budd Park (2021), Longfellow Elementary (2016) and JA Rogers Elementary (2015).
Sporting Club also continues to invest in soccer-specific spaces across the region since purchasing Sporting KC in 2006. Beginning with the opening of Swope Soccer Village in 2007, the commitment to providing amenities for athletes of all ages and abilities has expanded to include Children's Mercy Park , Compass Minerals National Performance Center, Compass Minerals Sporting Fields, Central Bank Sporting Complex and more than 20 local futsal courts.