4ATX Foundation, St. David’s HealthCare, Austin Parks and Recreation, U.S. Soccer Foundation and Soccer Assist join forces to officially open brand-new community soccer facility
AUSTIN, Texas - 4ATX Foundation, the nonprofit arm of Austin FC, announced the official opening today of the Wooldridge School Park mini-pitch, located at 1412 Norseman Terrace, Austin, TX, just minutes away from Austin FC’s stadium site. St. David’s HealthCare is the presenting sponsor of the newly-installed mini-pitch, and the project is the result of support across a range of key stakeholders including 4ATX Foundation and Austin FC Founding Partner, St. David’s HealthCare, as well as Austin Parks and Recreation, U.S. Soccer Foundation and Soccer Assist.
As part of 4ATX Foundation’s mission to close the opportunity gap through the power of soccer, and promote opportunity for children and families throughout Austin, 4ATX Foundation announced that the mini-pitch partnership has transformed an underused and under-maintained space at Wooldridge School Park into a brand-new, state-of-the-art mini-pitch that includes lighting to extend the available opening time of the facility. Students, families and neighborhood soccer fans will now have a safe space in which to play soccer, to learn, develop and grow.
“This project is close to our stadium and will always be special because it is within our neighborhood,” commented Andy Loughnane, President of Austin FC and 4ATX Board Member. “We know that soccer can be used as a platform to help kids develop leadership skills and achieve their goals. As Austin FC arrives in Austin, more kids will be dreaming about playing at our stadium wearing an Austin FC jersey, and those dreams could begin to shape into reality at the Wooldridge School Park mini-pitch.”
“As part of its mission, 4ATX Foundation seeks to close the opportunity gap by providing access to youth development opportunities on and off the soccer field. Those opportunities include access to safer spaces to play soccer, particularly in historically underserved areas,” said Kaitlin Swarts, VP of Community Impact of Austin FC. “This mini-pitch, which is less three miles from our stadium and on a campus that serves a large low-income student population, is a perfect example of the types of projects we want to support as a Club and as a Foundation. We hope the Wooldridge students and all neighborhood children will take to their mini-pitch and make it a place of their own, where they can learn, play and build a strong community.”
“As healthcare providers, we are proud to be part of a project that has created a new space that encourages Austin children to live healthier and more active lives,” Abbi Miller, Assistant Vice President of Community Engagement for St. David’s HealthCare, said. “Having the opportunity to work alongside such dedicated partners, including 4ATX Foundation, the City of Austin, Soccer Assist and U.S. Soccer Foundation, has made this project even more gratifying.”
“Through creative and collaborative teamwork with Austin Independent Schools District (AISD), 4ATX Foundation, Soccer Assist, and the U.S. Soccer Foundation, the new mini-pitch futsal court is a welcome addition to the soccer-passionate community at Wooldridge School Park,” said Austin Parks and Recreation Director Kimberly McNeeley. “Following the success of the mini-pitch at the Dove Springs Recreation Center, re-purposing the underutilized court space at Wooldridge School Park and adding lighting, was a forward-thinking way to bring more outdoor opportunities, including future free organized play/skills clinics, to the neighborhood. We look forward to future partnership opportunities with Austin FC.”
“At the U.S. Soccer Foundation, we’re thrilled by the continued grassroots efforts to grow the game of soccer in Austin through this mini-pitch project,” said U.S. Soccer Foundation President & CEO Ed Foster-Simeon. “It is inspiring to witness other organizations aligning with our mission on a local level—from Soccer Assist’s engagement with communities to find impactful project sites to 4ATX’s inclusion of field revitalization within their approach of creating an equitable Central Texas community. We are excited to follow the trajectory of Austin FC’s 4ATX Foundation and welcome them into our MLS family as we continue to grow the game and build resilient and engaged communities through mini-pitches.”
“Soccer Assist is so proud to have played a role in the creation of this truly stunning, cutting edge mini-pitch project,” said Aaron Rochlen, Ph.D., Co-Founder of Soccer Assist. “Since 2015 we have aimed to provide spaces to play and opportunities for under-served youth to play the beautiful game without restrictions or barriers. This court, the second we have helped develop, provides a generous assist toward our mission.”
The Wooldridge School Park mini-pitch marks the second soccer facility joint-initiative in the greater Austin area in which 4ATX Foundation has participated. In November 2019, the Dove Springs Recreation Center futsal court was opened in Southeast Austin, a project led by Soccer Assist, working in partnership with Austin Parks and Recreation, Fayruz Benyousef Consulting, Soccer Shots, 4ATX Foundation, and U.S. Soccer Foundation.