Union Dedication

Chester City mayor John Linder, center, joins Stetser Elementary students to dedicate a new mini soccer pitch. — Submitted photo

The Philadelphia Union in collaboration with the U.S. Soccer Foundation, MLS WORKS and Adidas, unveiled a new mini soccer pitch at Stetser Elementary School in Chester. The new pitch aims to provide the community a safe place to play and enjoy soccer.

“At the foundation we believe that soccer can be used as a conduit for transformational change in the lives of our children,” said Philadelphia Union Foundation board member James Korman. “Whether through our own programs or collaborations with like-minded organizations, it is our aim to create a tangible positive impact on the children in Chester.”

The new mini-pitch comes in part of the 20 for 20 Mini-Pitch Initiative, which aspires to bring a mini soccer pitch to an un-derserved community in conjunction with each of the 20 MLS clubs. The first of the 20 mini-pitches was unveiled in July in association with the Colorado Rapids. Since then, the New York Red Bulls and D.C. United have also unveiled their mini-pitches.

After the pitch was officially dedicated to the Chester community, Philadelphia Union players Mike Lahoud, Zach Pfeffer, Maurice Edu and Brian Carroll served as coaches in a small-sided game with local youth from the Chester Upland Soccer for Success program.

“The Chester Upland Soccer for Success Program and the new mini-pitch demonstrate the power of civic engagement to make a difference in our communities,” said Widener University Interim President Stephen C. Wilhite. “Widener is proud to operate the Soccer for Success Program in Chester and to collaborate with so many outstanding partners working together to give youth in Chester a brighter future.”

Soccer for Success is the U.S. Soccer Foundation’s free after-school program that uses soccer as a tool to combat children’s health issues and juvenile delinquency.

Widener University’s Office of Civic Engagement aims to serve as a national model for youth after school programming through the use of soccer as a catalyst to promote nutrition education, mentorship, physical activity, and family engagement within educationally and/or economically distressed communities.

The new mini soccer pitch is now open to the public and is located at 808 E. 17th Street in Chester.

“Alongside a truly remarkable team of partners, we are honored to be able to offer a safe place for our communities’ children to play this wonderful game,” said Philadelphia Union Executive Vice President Dave Rowan. “We also believe this opportunity is about more than just soccer as we hope youth participation and education of what it means to be part of a team can take place at this facility. We thank our partners and commend the Philadelphia Union Foundation for making this all possible.”

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