LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Four miniature soccer fields will open to the public after a ribbon-cutting Friday afternoon at Gary Reese Freedom Park in the east Las Vegas valley.
The scaled-down fields — “mini-pitches” — have been installed in the center of a concrete court area on the north edge of the park. It is currently fenced off.
The hope: When access to soccer is as easy as it is for other sports — basketball, for example — more people might get interested. More fields, more people playing. A full-size soccer field is an expensive proposition because of the space and the water required.
The mini-pitches have a metal framework and what appears to be a court with a hard surface, with goals that stick out at the ends of the fields. Just as many basketball hoops at parks have chain nets, the soccer nets on the mini-pitches are made of chain to stand up to a lot of use.
A City of Las Vegas news release indicates the mini-pitches are a partnership between the city, the U.S. Soccer Foundation and Target. A $200,000 donation for the project came from Target. Freedom Park is at the southwest corner of Pecos Road and Washington Avenue.
The fields seem to be a good size for kids who are just learning the game, but they are designed for use by kids or adults. The smaller field size changes the dynamics of the game for adults.
The metal railing around the fields might get really hot in the daytime, but the fields are equipped with lighting for play at night, too.
The mini-pitches are being installed all over the country, and U.S. Soccer Foundation has a goal of installing 1,000 by 2026 — part of the “It’s Everyone’s Game” movement to create greater access to the sport.
“Soccer is a very popular sport and fields are in high demand in Las Vegas, so we are very happy to add four new fields to our inventory,” Las Vegas Councilwoman Olivia Diaz said. “These mini-pitches bring a fast-paced spin to soccer and can be used by adults or children.” Diaz is scheduled to attend the 4 p.m. Friday ribbon-cutting. The park is in her district.
The area where the mini-pitches were put in is marked by a plaque as the John C. Chambers Wheelchair Sports Park.