South Dade Park Opens Two Mini-Pitches - South Dade News Leader: Sports

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South Dade Park Opens Two Mini-Pitches

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Posted: Friday, February 1, 2019 12:30 am

South Dade Park, with help from the U.S. Soccer Foundation and Target, has unveiled two mini-pitches available for public use.

The two soccer pitches are part of the organizations’ goal of building 100 nationwide by 2020 and 1,000 new safe places to play by 2026 when the United States, along with Mexico and Canada, hosts the World Cup.

South Dade Park is the first of three parks in Miami-Dade County to receive the mini-pitches.  

Miami-Dade County District 8 Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava said to a number of people in the community during the unveiling on Monday. “We are really in a gem of a park in South Dade Park. You’re all here for this wonderful, novel, first-of-its-kind opening in Miami-Dade County. We’re so proud.”

The two mini-pitches were developed from old tennis courts and feature goals on each end laid on a bright red surface and the signature Target logo in the center with a surrounding fence.

“South Florida is high on our priority list,” U.S. Soccer Foundation president and CEO Ed Foster-Simeon said. “Not only has it been a long-term hotbed of soccer in this country, but you have a new team coming with Inter Miami. The moment is just right here. Soccer brings so many different cultures together and so many people together. No matter what your background is, it’s a universal language. In an international city like Miami this is the place for us to be.”

“One of things we realized at the U.S. Soccer Foundation is the game has done quite well in upper-middle class and middle class neighborhoods who can afford the “pay-to-play” model and families can write the big checks and all of that,” Foster-Simeon said, “but we want to make sure that children of all communities have access to the game so we look for communities that have greater need and we build facilities and provide programming in those communities so children have free access and that economics are not a barrier to their participation.”

The “pay-to-play” model prevalent in soccer across the United States has often been criticized in terms of its ability to maximize participation and the development of talent needed for the country to compete on the world’s biggest stages.

South Dade Park is also home to an aquatic complex estimated to cost $5.4 million when it began construction in 2016. It is expected to open in June according to a Miami-Dade County spokesperson.

Said Levine Cava “Just imagine with these two things we are going to be the best park anywhere.”

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