First New Soccer Mini Pitch Opens in Downtown Miami; Many to Follow

First New Soccer Mini Pitch Opens in Downtown Miami; Many to Follow

Just Ball League Play Starts Up

In October, the first mini-soccer pitch built in South Florida as part of the Miami-Dade Soccer Initiative, opened its gates to the Just Ball League at The Children’s Trust funded Centro Mater Foundation. 

The soccer pitch and the Trust-sponsored free soccer programming that will be played on it are part of an ambitious project that will develop 50 new soccer mini-pitches in underserved parts of the community to improve the health and well-being of at least 36,000 children by 2030. All the mini-pitches are planned to be operating by 2026, the same year as the FIFA World Cup held in Noth America, including games being played in Miami. Families enjoyed music, food and, of course, the youth delighted in playing on the new mini-pitch at Central Mater. 

Playing soccer and being part of a team provides a variety of benefits for those who participate. Soccer in particular has the ability to bring neighborhoods together and help young players develop important social skills that will serve them as adults, while helping them avoid negative situations when they are left alone with no direction.

The mini-pitches will host the Just Ball League which is free and provides league play in underserved neighborhoods. Already going strong in New York City and Los Angeles, the Just Ball League will be played at the Miami-Dade mini pitches. As well as improving the soccer skills of participants, the league helps create a community support system where coach-mentors, known as “playmakers,” armed with training that enhances their ability to address the social, emotional, and health needs of the youth, will play a pivotal role.

As well as Centro Mater location, another mini-pitch is open at Everglades Village in Homestead and several others are close to being finished. The impact of the Just Ball Leagues already operating speaks to the initiative's potential in South Florida. Seventy-five percent of youth participants report improved interactions with others, engagement in teamwork, a sense of belonging, and a desire to continue playing sports.

The new initiative builds on The Trust’s existing relationship with the U.S. Soccer Foundation, which have partnered in the Soccer for Success program since 2017. Thousands of kids have been able to get exercise and have fun as part of that program, and 90 percent reported better attitudes toward school and homework, better relationships with peers and teachers, and more self-belief after participating.

To find a Just Ball League location near you, visit