BRUNSWICK, GA. —The Atlanta United Foundation opened the first mini-pitch of the GA 100 campaign in Brunswick, Georgia, on Thursday, which was granted to Coastal Outreach Soccer (COS), a nonprofit organization that provides academic and athletic programming to underserved youth in Brunswick and Glynn County in southeast Georgia. The mini-futsal court is set in Brunswick’s Perry Park and will benefit more than 300 students within COS’s program and the community at large.
GA 100 is a state-wide campaign, created by the Atlanta United Foundation and in partnership with the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), with the goal of constructing up to 100 mini-pitches in underserved communities across Georgia leading into the 2026 FIFA World Cup.
“This is an exciting moment for the GA 100 campaign, Coastal Outreach Soccer and underserved youth across the state of Georgia,” said Atlanta United President Darren Eales. “Opening the first mini-pitch in Brunswick embodies GA 100’s mission of improving access to the sport for underprivileged children, while also demonstrating the club’s commitment to reach out to all corners of the state. The Atlanta United Foundation and LISC continue working together to identify areas throughout Georgia in need of safe and reliable pitches, and we plan to open many more in 2022 and the years leading into the World Cup.”
Atlanta United players Brad Guzan, Thiago Almada, George Campbell and Machop Chol attended the grand opening, along with Brunswick city officials and NFL cornerback Darius Slay, a Brunswick-native and COS supporter. Atlanta United’s camps and clinics staff was on-site to facilitate drills and experience the new playing surface with students. The club’s street team also brought a matchday atmosphere to Brunswick with games and prizes for the students and members of the community in attendance. Each player received a soccer ball, futsal shoes and headphones donated by JLab Audio.
“We’ve already seen the positive effects of building this futsal court in the Brunswick community and Perry Park specifically,” said Shawn Williams, executive director of Coastal Outreach Soccer. “GA 100 has allowed children who live in this area the opportunity to develop their soccer, academic and leadership skills. This mini-pitch has also helped encourage the city government to renew its commitment to the community by dedicating resources to improve the appearance of the park. Within two weeks of starting activities on the futsal court, we’ve increased the number of young girls participating from one to 22.”
The futsal hardcourt is situated in Brunswick’s Perry Park and was constructed on a vacant tennis court. The pitch was built in the heart of a neighborhood that includes subsidized apartment complexes, public housing units and an elementary school with 96% of its student population receiving free or reduced lunch. The central location of the GA 100 pitch is within walking distance for many students, and it will benefit more than 300 kids from Brunswick and Glynn County that COS serves through its year-round after school programming in the areas of soccer, academics and leadership.
Since the start of construction on the GA 100 pitch, the city of Brunswick has commenced several more improvement projects in Perry Park. Parents and students from COS also helped volunteer during the construction of the new pitch.
Coastal Outreach Soccer was founded in 2004 and began as an in-house recreational level soccer program with 15 first generation soccer players and coaches. Today, COS serves hundreds of students, and its teams play at a competitive level against clubs with more resources and larger player pools. However, the program has achieved success on the field, winning the Georgia Recreation and Parks District titles in 2011 and 2012. Off the field, educational mentoring is the core of the program that helps players stay academically on-track and enables players to earn athletic scholarships after graduation.
The Atlanta United Foundation awarded $1.5 million to LISC to lead installation of the first 20 mini-pitches across the state. With this funding, LISC – the nation’s leading community development support organization – identified local, nonprofit and community-based agencies wishing to build or refurbish mini-pitch fields at schools, neighborhood parks and other recreation spaces in underserved Georgia neighborhoods. The local organizations receive financing and technical assistance to improve the quality and safety of mini-pitch fields in their communities. The organizations then oversee the construction, maintenance and programming of the fields.
The campaign, which kicked off in 2020, has made grants to 14 neighborhood organizations and has 16 mini-pitches now in development or completed.
The Atlanta United Foundation and LISC recently announced the newest recipients of grants for the GA 100 campaign and plans to announce the next round of grants this summer. Nonprofit organizations, along with schools and parks, can apply for a grant beginning April 1 by clicking here. To learn more about GA 100, visit atlutd.com/ga100.