For decades, Indy Parks spaces have welcomed park visitors of all ages to play, to run, to discover new skills and sports. Offering more than 2,400 programs throughout the year, our family centers, fitness spaces and sports fields allow countless chances for people of all ages to get outside, enjoy some fresh air and try something new.
Indy Parks facilities feature basketball courts, football fields and baseball diamonds. And now, a soccer mini-pitch. This fall, we gathered with community members, sports leaders and local students to dedicate a mini-pitch at Oscar Charleston Park. It is one of 12 being installed nationwide as part of the Black Players for Change (BPC) and Black Women’s Player Collective (BWPC) Mini-Pitch Initiative, in partnership with the U.S. Soccer Foundation, Adidas and Musco Lighting. The goal of the initiative is to create more places to play in underserved communities and is part of a larger effort to remove systemic barriers that keep Black children from playing soccer.
The mini-pitches are being installed in communities that are important to BPC and BWPC members, like Ray Gaddis. The former Major League Soccer player and Indianapolis native knew that the kids of his hometown could benefit from having a mini-pitch in their backyard, so he joined with Indy Parks to find a space for one. Together, we decided that Oscar Charleston Park was the place.
A lot of care went into the installation of this mini-pitch. Anchored to a tennis court in the heart of the park, we wanted to make sure it was a place that local kids wanted to be. The corners of the mini-pitch are bright and colorful, with murals painted by local artists depicting major Black influences in both Indianapolis and the sports world, including Oscar Charleston, Ray Gaddis, Briana Scurry, and Madam C.J. Walker. The mini-pitch will be accessible seven days per week from dawn until dusk at no cost to anybody who wants to use it, and Indy Parks is working with Gaddis and Indiana Soccer to plan future programs that make the best use of the space.