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Fire, US Soccer Foundation announce plans to construct ‘mini-pitches’ in Chicago communities

Plan will focus on ‘underserved neighborhoods throughout Chicagoland area’

MLS: MLS All-Star-MLS WORKS Community Day Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

On Wednesday, the Chicago Fire announced plans to construct 50 mini-pitches throughout the Chicagoland area over the next five years. The U.S. Soccer Foundation and the City of Chicago will also be contributing to the effort.

The announcement was made at Gage Park— where two of the asphalt fields were built last summer — on the city’s Southwest side.

Each of the fields will be roughly the size of a tennis court, have an asphalt surface, lines, small goals and a surrounding fence and will cost roughly $60,000 to build, per the Chicago Tribune.

Contributors to the project’s funding include the Fire, the U.S. Soccer Foundation, the City of Chicago and Ken Griffin, founder and CEO of Citadel. It is unclear what sum of funding is coming from the former three at this time, but the Tribune reports that Griffin will contribute $3 million to the project.

“It’s another investment in our neighborhoods,” Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said of the project on Tuesday. “It’s what parents want to see for their kids, which is a great sport, safe sport in a safe space.”

Fire owner Andrew Hauptman echoed this sentiment in a statement on Wednesday, saying that he was proud the groups have come together to make “an important and positive impact throughout [the Chicago] community.”