Atlanta United today officially launched the Atlanta United Foundation (AUF) at a ceremony at MARTA Five Points Station Amphitheater. AUF will strive to make the sport of soccer accessible and inclusive for individuals across the state of Georgia through various grant programs, equipment donations and pitch builds. It is an affiliate fund of the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation.
Digital assets from the event found here.
“This is a proud day for Atlanta United as we officially launch our Foundation and our commitment to promoting health and fitness through the global game of soccer,” said Atlanta United owner Arthur Blank. “Soccer is a sport that has historically brought people from diverse backgrounds together around a common love for the game. The Atlanta United Foundation will build on this culture of play and sportsmanship, and work to inspire youth to grow together by playing together.”
AUF also announced on Thursday a two-year, $125,000 grant to Soccer in the Streets for Atlanta Public Schools (APS) Elementary School programming. The grant will be used to develop youth soccer programming and character training within the APS district and will place special emphasis on program grants for projects serving high-need groups in Marietta, Atlanta and DeKalb County. AUF will focus on projects that do more than provide fleeting exposure to soccer and will invest in innovations that result in systemic, long-term access to participation. Programming areas will also involve leadership building, increased participation among women and minorities and coaching and official training.
“We are very excited to announce our Foundation and to further support the continued introduction and education of soccer to our community,” said Atlanta United President Darren Eales. “Through impactful programming, equipment donation and the installation of pitches like the one at MARTA Five Points Station, we are providing access to the game and encouraging a new generation of soccer fans in Atlanta. By making soccer accessible and inclusive, we will not only strengthen our sport, but will strengthen and unify our communities.”
Thursday’s event coincided with one of AUF’s primary areas of focus, access to the sport for Georgia youth, as the club unveiled the “Station Soccer” project in conjunction with Soccer in the Streets and MARTA. The 9,600-square foot mini-pitch, located at MARTA’s Five Points Station Amphitheater, will serve as a community hub to help develop grassroots soccer and provide life skills programs to Atlanta’s underserved urban communities. The downtown Atlanta location represents the first soccer field in the world to be built inside the perimeter of a major urban transit station. The pitch will be used for training sessions, 5v5 league matches, fundraisers and other special events.
“This is more than a just a field, it's a safe place for kids in the surrounding communities to play, grow and learn to love the game of soccer,” said Soccer in the Streets Executive Director Phil Hill. “We see it as a way to make a positive social impact at the grassroots level.”