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Crew to build mini-pitch at local Columbus elementary school

Eakin Elementary to host community park and program.

Courtesy of Columbus Crew SC

The new owners of Columbus Crew SC are intent on becoming a part of the fabric of the city and have sought opportunities to give back. The planned redevelopment of MAPFRE Stadium into a practice facility for the team community park was the first major step. On Wednesday, the team announced the next step with the unveiling of a mini field to be built this summer at Eakin Elementary in the Hilltop area of Columbus.

The project is a joint effort between the Columbus Crew SC Foundation, the U.S. Soccer Foundation, Columbus City Schools and Columbus Recreation and Parks. The field will be built with lights and will be open to the community for day and evening activities.

This new mini pitch will be part of the U.S. Soccer Foundation’s Soccer for Success program that provides afternoon program for school-aged children three times a week with no fee. The program’s goal is to provide mentorship and healthy activities to children in addition to spreading soccer development to underserved communities.

The program provides a uniform, ball and coaching for youth that typically don’t have places or the means to play soccer. This is the first Soccer for Success program in Ohio.

New investor-Operator Dee Haslam underscored the importance of providing opportunity to the community in her remarks at the unveiling.

“Children who are involved in athletics or arts or music, or something that engages them, are better students and they attend.” she said. “So being able to provide an athletic field that is going to be so important to the growth of these kids is extremely important to us.”

Haslam also recognized another key part of the community, the Save The Crew movement which helped maintain awareness long enough for her family, along with Pete Edwards, to step in and purchase the rights to the club from previous owner Anthony Precourt.

“(Save the Crew) were so vital in getting us to where we are today and I just want to thank the Save The Crew effort and dedicate this field to them,” she said.

This is the eighth field development project that the Crew SC Foundation has undertaken according to the club. Edwards hopes it isn’t the last.

“I just spoke with the president of the School Board for Columbus and he said we have 109 schools,” he said. “And I said, ‘well then let’s get pitches in all of them.’”