CHARLOTTE, N.C. — From the start, Charlotte FC has expressed just how important it is to the organization to be impactful within the community and on Wednesday they held the inaugural Pitches for Progress ceremony, in which Charlotte FC dedicated the first of 22 mini-pitches in hopes of providing an opportunity to play soccer in a safe space for youth and adults in the community.
“This is an amazing field. This is the exact same type of field we are going to have at Bank of America Stadium. So they are getting the best of the best so I think that's a big piece is that we want to be able to take a piece of the field that our pros are going to play on and put in these communities,” Charlotte FC president Nick Kelly said.
Charlotte FC's mission for Pitches for Progress goes well beyond providing the opportunity to learn how to play soccer.
“The biggest concern we have from a programming standpoint is that in the summertime these kids aren't getting after-school meals. I think that the ability to come out, do practice and us be able to provide them meals to take home to their family just becomes more and more important beyond just soccer. So yes, we want to develop some amazing talent, but we also want to make sure we're impacting the community,” Kelly explained.
The organization also has big aspirations for this initiative that starts within the Charlotte area and then expands throughout the Carolinas.
“Realistically it's probably going to take us 5 years to add 22 pitches because one securing the real estate is extremely challenging because we want to have a partner similar to Sailboat Bay here that is actually going to program it. We can buy a bunch of land, but I think we really want to make sure we have the right partners to program it. We also want to make sure our core is in Charlotte, but then we have the ability to expand out. We'll start Charlotte first and then you'll see us go across the Carolinas,” Kelly said.
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