Raleigh, North Carolina – There’s a new place to play in downtown Raleigh, but it won’t be there for long. As I wrote earlier this month, a pop-up soccer field opened in City Plaza at 400 Fayetteville Street on July 15 and will be there until August 15.
The pitch appears thanks to the collaboration between Raleigh and the Bucy Foundation’s Free Play Soccer initiative, which is working to raise $ 2.5 million over the next two years to build 25 soccer fields in local neighborhoods without access to free play areas, according to a press release. Release.
And it’s really a pilot project that will help the city assess how the community will use it as they plan to open more football pitches across the city as part of the initiative.
“We want to test the full scope of what the community loves,” said Ken Hisler, deputy director of Raleigh Parks.
The outdoor soccer field on City Plaza is near the area that once housed an outdoor ice rink in previous winters. It’s open to the public on weekdays and has special weekend events, including adult and corporate league games. Friday evenings are reserved for children with sessions from kindergarten to second from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. and from third to fifth from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Families can come and play at the following times during the week. It’s free. Before leaving, check the Bucy’s website for up-to-date calendar information.
- from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. at 6 p.m., Mondays
- 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., Tuesdays
- 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Wednesday
- 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Thursdays
- 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Fridays
Parents will be happy to know that it’s completely surrounded by a wall, so you don’t have to worry about your child ending up in traffic chasing a ball. I’m told there will be bullets handy, but it’s probably worth bringing your own if you have one.
All of this foreshadows plans to build more football pitches in underserved parts of Raleigh. Already, Raleigh officials hope to open two more fields through the Bucy initiative in Brentwood and Peach Road parks. They could open as early as this winter, Hisler said.
These “fields” will be different from typical football fields. At Peach Road, they will take over an underused basketball court. And in Brentwood, they will turn two tennis courts into two courts.
Children will not play on grass, but concrete with an acrylic finish. In reality, they will look more like futsal pitches, a football-like game that is played on a hard pitch. As a longtime footballer, I can tell you that futsal offers fast play and plenty of opportunities to develop skills and footwork. Hisler said plans call for the development of youth and adult leagues on the courts, depending on the interests of the community.
As the city continues to seek opportunities for additional land after the first two, it could use the downtown Raleigh short pop-up to test locations.
“He’s a pilot,” he says.
The downtown soccer field is within walking distance of many kid-friendly places including the Marbles Kids Museum, the NC Museum of Natural Sciences, and places like Amorino For the ice cream.