Atlanta United, Soccer in the Streets and MARTA today announced a community project to help develop grassroots soccer and provide life skills programs to Atlanta’s underserved urban communities. The project, officially named ‘Station Soccer – Five Points MARTA Station,’ represents the first soccer field to be built inside the perimeter of a major urban transit station in the world.
The strategic location of the field in the heart of downtown Atlanta will remove the primary barrier,that prevents many of the city’s youth from playing soccer: lack of access and poor transportation options. The Five Points station is the hub of the MARTA metro system, making the field an ideal location for kids from across the city to come together in one place to play soccer.
“Our partnership effort will help foster a sense of community around our most active MARTA station,” said GM/CEO Keith T. Parker, AICP. “These collaborations are important because they turn a rail stop into a point of destination where customers can plan an entire outing—from grabbing a meal to shopping then a match—all while using the system.”
Funded through a grant by Atlanta United, Soccer in the Streets will lead programming of Station Soccer initiating in late fall of this year. Programming will include establishing mentoring programs, promoting employability among young people and creating a sustainable, competitive format through adult leagues.
“Station Soccer represents a unique opportunity to provide a practical pathway to the game of soccer for youth across metro Atlanta,” said Atlanta United president Darren Eales. “Kids will now be able to take MARTA to the Five Points field to compete and play with peers from diverse communities across the city. We’re proud to partner with Soccer in the Streets and MARTA on this groundbreaking community project.”
The project seeks to include community members across metro Atlanta by using downtown as a converging point for a new urban soccer culture. Using innovative ideas focused on inclusiveness and collaboration, the Station Soccer project aims to embrace and encourage the global nature of the game.
“The partnership between Soccer in the Streets and Atlanta United demonstrates the club’s commitment to providing access to the game of soccer to our city’s youth, especially in areas that have historically been marginalized,” said Phil Hill, Executive Director for Soccer in the Streets. “The field will allow our organization to expand through a totally new concept in urban soccer, designed specifically for kids who live in underserved neighborhoods.”
The inspiration for the project came from Soccer in the Streets’ board member Sanjay Patel, who has envisioned combining soccer and transit in Atlanta since 2014. “Projects like Station Soccer will allow us to help build healthy transit environments and will also provide access and connectivity for all through soccer,” said Patel.
Station Soccer – Five Points MARTA Station will feature turf and lighting infrastructure provided by GreenFields USA, Musco/Cree Lighting and the U.S. Soccer Foundation.