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BRUNSWICK, Ga. – The Atlanta United Foundation opened the first mini-pitch part of the state-wide GA 100 campaign to bring soccer to local communities, and four players from the first team traveled to Brunswick, Ga. with the group to be a part of the special event. 

Brad Guzan, George Campbell, Thiago Almada and Machop Chol showed up to help unveil the new pitch. 

“First and foremost, to be here in Brunswick, Georgia is an awesome opportunity for us,” Guzan said. “But then to see the smiles of the kids here in the community and what this field means to them, that part of it is extremely exciting.”

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The opening held on Thursday, March 24 is part of the foundation’s GA 100 campaign. In partnership with Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), the goal of the campaign is to construct up to 100 mini-pitches in underserved communities leading into the 2026 FIFA World Cup to spread the game of soccer throughout the state. 

“It shows you the love of the game,” Campbell said. “And to get away from either home or school, you just come here to have fun with your friends. Sometimes you can be here from whatever time until time to go to bed. So you can really work hard and have fun, I think is a great thing to have.” 

The pitch was granted to Coastal Outreach Soccer (COS), a nonprofit organization that provides academic and athletic programing to underserved youth in southeast Georgia. Constructed in Brunswick Perry Park, the pitch gives students a central location in the community that’s easily accessible and within walking distance, an appealing aspect Almada can relate to. 

“I used to leave home and go to a small pitch to play with my friends,” Almada said. “It was really nice, and I hope that they enjoy this beautiful mini-pitch.”

Darren Eales, president of Atlanta United, said that the foundation and LISC will continue working together to identify areas around Georgia in need of new pitches with plans to open more later this year. 

“This is an exciting moment for the GA 100 campaign, Coastal Outreach Soccer and underserved youth across the state of Georgia,” Eales said. “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 team members who traveled to Brunswick brought with them a matchday experience. The group facilitated games for members of the community in attendance and gave out prizes. Youth coaches facilitated drills with the students to break in the new playing surface. Each student received a soccer ball, shoes and headphones donated by JLab Radio. 

The four Atlanta United players met with Shawn Williams, the executive director of Coastal Outreach Soccer, signed autographs and even brought a Golden Spike.

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Each of the Atlanta United players connected the pitch in Brunswick with their own experiences growing up in soccer. For Chol, who was born in Sudan and raised in Tucker, Ga., seeing the new pitch reminded him of playing soccer at a young age.

“For me and my community, it was very important because that was the escape for all the young kids,” Chol said. “Soccer was all we knew, so we’d just go and play whenever we’d get the chance to go and play some footy. So, these are very important for the communities.”

There are many positive effects from the new pitch. Within two weeks of starting activities on the pitch, the program increased the number of young girls participating from one to 22. The mini-pitch has also encouraged the city government to renew its commitment to the community and are dedicating resources to improve the appearance of the park.

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Pitches like this provide kids a place to build relationships. They also help young athletes, boys and girls, who hope to play soccer at the next level – whether that’s high school, college or professionally.

As the first of many pitches that will spread the love for the beautiful game throughout the Peach State, the campaign is off to a promising start.

“This is something not every kid gets to experience, but hopefully if we can get to 100 pitches or even more, that many more kids can really experience something this cool and enjoy the game this much,” Campbell said.