Take a Look at the New Community Soccer Play Spaces Target’s Creating Across the Country

August 2, 2018 - Article reads in
Kids and pro players perform the ceremonial first kick at their new play space in Atlanta

So much excitement—and cheers, fireworks and confetti—in the air this week as millions of soccer fans take part in MLS All-Star Week festivities in Atlanta. As the game’s proud presenting sponsor, Target has a lot to celebrate, especially as we continue toward our goooaaalll of bringing the game to more kids and families across the country.

One big reason we’re cheering: This week, we opened three new soccer play spaces in Atlanta’s Southside Park and Anderson Park—the first of 10 play spaces we’re building across the city this year. All-Star players Brad Guzan, Josef Martínez, Michael Parkhurst and Diego Valeri stopped by to celebrate with local families and take part in the ceremonial first kicks on the pitches. Our mascot, Bullseye the dog, really got a kick out of it!

Josef Martinez high-fives kids; Bullseye the dog sits on a pedestal at the eventAs part of our $14 million commitment to youth soccer, Target is creating 100 of these new soccer play spaces across the U.S. by 2020 in partnership with the U.S. Soccer Foundation, providing safe and accessible places for families to play. Thirty-six of the play spaces—which include a soccer field, goals, windscreens, seating and more—will be open by the end of 2018 in communities throughout Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Miami, Orlando and Tampa.

Influencers and players stand together on the court in front of the muralFrom L to R: Amy Phuong, Commissioner, Atlanta Department of Parks and Recreation; Josef Martínez, Striker, Atlanta United FC; Brad Guzan, Goalkeeper, Atlanta United FC; Diego Valeri, Midfielder, Portland Timbers; William White, Senior Vice President, Marketing, Target; Don Garber, Commissioner, Major League Soccer; Ed Foster-Simeon, President & CEO, U.S. Soccer Foundation; Michael Parkhurst, Defender, Atlanta United FC; and Darren Eales, President, Atlanta United FC.

How do these play spaces come to life? Target teams work closely with the foundation and local community leaders to choose the perfect locations for each play space, ensuring they’re built to serve local families who often don’t have a public play area within miles of their homes—and adding a few personal touches.

For example, we bring in local artists to decorate each space with unique artwork like windscreens and murals—like the one pictured above by Atlanta artist Greg Mike. And, as a nod to our commitment to keeping the planet healthy through circular design, some of the fields will feature picnic tables, trash cans and benches made from recycled Target plastic bags, created by our partners at TerraCycle.

Fans watch 2 Chainz onstage at the concertWe’ve also been helping fans celebrate MLS All-Star Week as only Target can. On Sunday night, we treated 12,000 fans to a free concert at Historic Fourth Ward Park, headlined by Hip-Hop artist and Atlanta native 2 Chainz, with pop and electronic artist Cheat Codes opening the show and songwriter, music producer and artistic director Fonzworth Bentley as emcee.Rick Gomez with players at the center of the fieldWednesday was game day as the MLS All-Star Game presented by Target kicked off at Mercedes-Benz Stadium and the team—including Minnesota United FC players Francisco Calvo and Darwin Quintero—took the field. Target Chief Marketing Officer Rick Gomez tossed the coin at the opening ceremony, and after the game, he took part in the MVP ceremony, handing over the trophy to Josef Martínez.

Are you a big fan of all things soccer? Shop Target’s full assortment of sports equipment, fan gear and more to get ready for your next game.

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