The MARTA transit system in Atlanta, Ga., has found a unique way to make youth soccer more available to widespread urban residents.
MARTA has partnered with Soccer in the Streets and Atlanta United to build the world’s first soccer pitch inside the boundaries of a major urban transit system. Located at MARTA’s Five Points station in the heart of downtown Atlanta, the new field will sit right at the hub of Atlanta urban transit, making it convenient and accessible for all Atlanta residents.
Station Soccer, as the project is known, is largely funded by a grant from Atlanta United to the mentorship program Soccer in the Streets. The project will offer free youth soccer, which will be sustained by paid adult leagues.
“Station Soccer represents a unique opportunity to provide a practical pathway to the game of soccer for youth across metro Atlanta. Kids will now be able to take MARTA to the Five Points field to compete and play with peers from diverse communities across the city. We’re proud to partner with Soccer in the Streets and MARTA on this groundbreaking community project,” said Atlanta United president Darren Eales in a press release announcing the plans for the pitch on October 5.
The miniature soccer field sits on one of the Five Points concourse and is flanked by stands where spectators can sit and watch. It measures 66 by 99 feet.
MARTA general manager and CEO Keith Parker told Next City that he hopes the new pitch will create a sense of community within the transit system. “These collaborations are important because they turn a rail stop into a point of destination where customers can plan an entire outing — from grabbing a meal to shopping then a match — all while using the system,” he said.
When Five Points was originally built, it was meant to have an amphitheater and other public spaces. The soccer pitch along with a planned community garden are steps toward that greater goal.
See renderings of Station Soccer—Five Points MARTA Station here.