Philadelphia Union Foundation and Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer Partner with Rebuild and Parks & Recreation to build 15 mini-pitches and two signature fields
Philadelphia — Today Mayor Jim Kenney joined the Philadelphia Union Foundation and Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer to announce a $3.5 million program to build 15 mini-pitches and two signature soccer fields in Philadelphia parks over the next five years.
“Thanks to Rebuild, made possible by the Philadelphia Beverage Tax, we are finally able to deliver a much needed investment in community soccer fields,” said Mayor Kenney. “I want to thank the Philadelphia Union Foundation and Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer for partnering with us to give more residents access to high quality places to play soccer.”
The historic partnership between the Philadelphia Union Foundation, Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, and Rebuild, the Mayor’s signature initiative to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in neighborhood parks, recreation centers, and libraries, will reach all parts of the city and address growing demand for high quality soccer fields across Philadelphia.
“Philadelphians love soccer, and this program is a huge step forward in growing the sport and supporting the hundreds of youth and adult teams who play in our parks and rec centers,” said Philadelphia Parks & Recreation Commissioner Kathryn Ott Lovell. “We are so grateful to the Philadelphia Union Foundation and Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer for their tireless work and commitment to building high quality soccer fields and mini-pitches in urban communities.”
The first mini-pitch project will be completed at Capitolo Playground in East Passyunk, where three active youth soccer leagues play throughout the year—Lobos Deportes, Capitolo Youth Soccer League, and Capitolo Mexican Soccer League. Mini-pitches are small, customized areas that are perfectly suited for four-a-side organized soccer programs and pick up games. Mini-pitches can be constructed on the site of old tennis or basketball courts, or built as turf or grass fields.
“Soccer brings so many benefits to communities and kids, from healthy activity, team building, and fun, competitive play,” said Paul Howard, Executive Director of the Philadelphia Union Foundation. “The Philadelphia Union Foundation is proud to work alongside the City of Philadelphia to give more young people access to the beautiful game.”
One of the program’s signature soccer fields will be built in Southwest Philadelphia, where a growing number of youth and adult soccer leagues practice at rec centers and local parks. Many teams practice at sites without goal posts, and popular fields are overbooked due to growing demand.
“Soccer has been a part of the fabric of Philadelphia and its neighborhoods for over 100 years, and this initiative allows the city to revive that history and thrive toward the next 100,” said Chris Branscome, CEO of Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer. “This unique partnership will help ensure thousands of children from various neighborhoods and cultures will continue to have the opportunity to grow and thrive through these fields and game of soccer.”
The selection process for mini-pitch sites and the second signature field will include a review of local demand, community feedback, and facilities needs assessment. All pitches will be built at existing Philadelphia Parks & Recreation sites, and will be a mix of tile, turf, grass, and blacktop surface based on community need and facility conditions.
“Rebuild is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to make transformational investments in our parks,” said Nicole Westerman, Executive Director of Rebuild. “Thanks to this incredible partnership with the Philadelphia Union Foundation and Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer, we have the opportunity to give more young people the high quality recreational spaces they deserve. We look forward to working with communities and leagues to across Philadelphia to identify sites for new soccer facilities.”
“Our league is all about giving the kids and families in this neighborhood a strong sense of community and a place to celebrate our shared heritage,” said Luis Uribe, President, Lobos Deportes Soccer League. “Capitolo is home to Lobos Deportes and hundreds of soccer players across three different leagues. We love the park, but wish our mini-pitch was in better shape. We are so excited that we will get a new mini-pitch that’s as high quality as our players!”
“I am especially excited to announce this multi-million dollar program at a time when Philadelphia’s interest in soccer is peaking—thanks to our annual Unity Cup tournament and the ongoing bid for the 2026 World Cup,” concluded Mayor Kenney.
About Philadelphia Union
Philadelphia was awarded the 16th Major League Soccer franchise on February 28, 2008 and the Union were officially named on May 11, 2009. Owned and operated by Keystone Sports and Entertainment, LLC, the group launched the Philadelphia Union’s inaugural season on March 25, 2010 and opened Talen Energy Stadium on June 27 of that year. Throughout the club’s history, the Union have reached the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final in 2014, 2015 and 2018, and have also reached the MLS Cup Playoffs in 2011, 2016 and 2018. In 2019, Philadelphia Union are celebrating 10 years of top-flight action at Talen Energy Stadium, a soccer-specific stadium that has hosted internationally known clubs Celtic, Chivas de Guadalajara, Everton, Schalke 04, Aston Villa, Pumas UNAM, Stoke City, Crystal Palace, AFC Bournemouth, Swansea City AFC and Eintracht Frankfurt. For more information about Philadelphia Union, visit www.philadelphiaunion.com.
About Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer
Since 1972, Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer has worked throughout Eastern Pennsylvania to promote, foster and perpetuate the game of soccer to the region’s youth. Through competitions, educational programs, outreach efforts and coaching clinics, Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer impacts the lives of more than 120,000 youth soccer players from ages 5 to 19. Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer is one of 55 state associations in US Youth Soccer and a member of the United States Soccer Federation. Additional information about Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer can be found at www.EPYSA.org.
Rebuilding Community Infrastructure (Rebuild)
Rebuild is an investment of hundreds of millions of dollars in neighborhood parks, recreation centers and libraries. Proposed in Mayor Jim Kenney’s first budget as a part of his vision for a more equitable Philadelphia, Rebuild seeks to improve pivotal community spaces, empower and engage communities, and promote economic opportunity through diversity and inclusion. Rebuild is a public private partnership made possible by the Philadelphia Beverage Tax.
Philadelphia Parks & Recreation
Philadelphia Parks & Recreation (PPR) advances the prosperity of the city and the progress of her people through intentional and sustained stewardship of nearly 10,200 acres of public land and waterways as well as through hundreds of safe, stimulating recreation, environmental and cultural centers. PPR promotes the well-being and growth of the city’s residents by connecting them to the natural world around them, to each other and to fun, physical and social opportunities. PPR is responsible for the upkeep of historically significant Philadelphia events and specialty venues, and works collaboratively with communities and organizations in leading capital projects and the introduction of inventive programming. To learn more about Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, visit us at www.phila.gov/parksandrec, and follow @philaparkandrec on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.