How Soccer Fields Can Connect Communities

Urban Soccer Park
young kids playing soccer together

When you step onto a soccer field, you aren’t just getting ready to play a game. Soccer is one of those rare activities that bring people together, crossing boundaries and uniting players and spectators alike for a common cause. Whether you’ve played casually or professionally, watched your kid’s local YMCA game or traveled to catch the World Cup, you know the connections that occur both on and off the soccer field.

Soccer is far more than just a game. In a world with more than our fair share of stress and troubles, let’s take a look at some of the positive connections that soccer helps foster in our communities.

Soccer Fields Promote Community Gathering

A community can be defined as a group of people who live in the same place together. However, that’s a fairly shallow definition of the word. When we think of all that a community can be, it means people coming together over some sort of shared values, interests, or goals. Creating that sense of community takes hard work and commitment. It also requires a shared sense of place, whether that place is physically or virtually shared.

A soccer field hits all the marks: it's a shared physical space where people join together in pursuit of the game. Everyone contributes something when they gather for a soccer game, from the players to the coaches to the spectators. Everyone gets something out of the gathering, too: exercise, victory, practice, entertainment, friendship.

Team sports like soccer also help to foster a deep sense of connection and belonging. Even the fiercest opponents on the soccer field will shake hands and laugh at the end of a good game. The concept of team building itself - so valuable in a professional setting - is rooted in team sports. Commitment, inclusivity, perseverance, goal setting, conflict resolution, and integrity are all developed on the soccer field. This sense of good sportsmanship can be imparted to even the youngest of players - and once it's experienced, it's a pretty tough set of values to shake off.

Soccer Fields Create a Greater Sense of Safety

When a community has a well maintained physical space to gather and build healthy relationships, a sense of deeper trust is instilled in the people who live there. Trust helps to foster a greater sense of safety in the communities that experience it. Soccer fields require some degree of regular maintenance, while offering a location-stable, central meeting point, lighting to help extend play hours, and even surfaces for safer game play.

What happens when communities don’t have soccer fields? Children are forced to take their soccer balls anywhere there’s space - which often means the streets. Without a consistent, regularly monitored soccer field to help encourage healthy daily routines under the guidance of coaches and other community members, many children eventually become disinterested. Those children—and their communities—lose out on the long term benefits that consistency and team building deliver.

Meanwhile, older soccer players are relegated to commute further and spend more time away from their communities just to find a venue for their passion. Safe communities require investment and engagement in order to thrive—which is exactly what a soccer field promotes.

Soccer Fields Help Beautify Communities

Okay, maybe we’re a bit partial to this one but we think it's undeniable that a well designed soccer field is a beautiful sight. When you consider what you could be replacing: an abandoned lot with partially demolished buildings or a dusty parking space - a green, inviting soccer field is a definite improvement. The bright colors and modern build of a mini-pitch can transform the entire look and feel of its surroundings. Misused or underutilized small spaces near schools, churches, parks, and other community gathering areas take on a new sense of cohesion and purpose. Bright uniforms, cheering crowds, smiling kids kicking their way to the goal - that’s the stuff of a vibrant, highly utilized community space.

Beautiful communities are communities that are lived in—and there’s nothing quite as lively as an active soccer field.

Soccer Fields Support Healthier Communities

Health comes in a variety of forms: physical fitness, emotional and mental wellbeing, financial health, and social health are all determined by a complex set of individual and community factors. We’re social creatures, after all, so it comes as no surprise that individual health is intrinsically linked to healthy communities.

Some of the general benefits of soccer fields that we’ve outlined throughout this article are directly connected to healthier communities. A sense of trust that’s built on a foundation of safe gathering spaces for example, can lead to less crime, greater financial health, and thus greater overall social health for community members who share a soccer field or other professional grade public sports amenity. Let’s look at a few more of the community health benefits a soccer field has to offer:

  1. Decreased social isolation can help reduce stress and the risks of anxiety, depression, cognitive decline, substance abuse, sleep disorders, and other health threats associated with feelings of loneliness.
  2. Increased healthy social relationships and positive outlets for energy can help keep children safe, drug free, and on track with their growth and development.
  3. Increased physical activity positively correlates with emotional wellbeing while also helping to prevent and manage common health conditions like heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, and stroke.
  4. The open and/or green space that a soccer field provides enhances the environmental beauty of the surrounding community, leading to decreased stress and reducing unhealthy coping behaviors.
  5. All of the above health benefits can lead to reduced strain on public health systems over time, allowing for health resources to be distributed in a more efficient way.

These are just a few of many benefits that a soccer field can directly support for your community. Curious about how you can foster a greater sense of connection, safety, vibrancy, and health for your community? Get in touch with us today to learn how to bring a mini-pitch soccer field to a neighborhood near you!

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