The first of five community soccer fields in south Louisville was dedicated during a ribbon cutting ceremony Thursday at Beechmont Community Center.
The outdoor, artificial turf field is a five-a-side soccer field. Five-a-side soccer is a modified version of soccer with four players and a goalie on each team. The field is smaller than a standard soccer field. This is the Louisville Metro Parks Department’s first turf field.
The nonprofit Louisville Parks Foundation raised the money for the project. Development Director Leslie McNulty said the idea to put a soccer field in south Louisville came from the area’s residents.
“We did a community survey last year, and we had about 650 respondents, just to see what the community needed and wanted, and soccer was high on the list,” McNulty said. “When we started to look around to see where soccer fields are in the city, there’s none in south Louisville.”
McNulty said south Louisville also has a high immigrant population, and many of the city’s newcomer’s enjoy soccer.
Mayor Greg Fischer and Louisville City Football Club Coach James O’Connor both attended the ceremony. Louisville City FC donated the turf for the field.
“This is a really happy day for this city because I know the kind of unlimited use this field is going to get and how many soccer folks, football folks, we’re going to be developing here,” Fischer said.
O’Connor said he was excited to see the soccer field open, and he hopes to continue building a partnership between Louisville City FC and the city.
“Hopefully in the years to come there is a future Louisville City star amongst the children who are here today,” O’Connor said.
All of the kids were invited to play soccer on the new field after the ribbon cutting ceremony ended.
Seven-year-old Jaylen was one of the kids at the community center who went to play soccer as soon as the ceremony ended. He said he likes soccer better than other sports, and he plans to use the field to practice.
“It’s better than football because football is tackling, and that’s rough, but soccer is actually funner because you get to kick the ball, and you get to pass it,” Jaylen said.
He also enjoys the field for another reason.
“I just like to touch the grass,” Jaylen said.
Otto, who is also 7, said he likes the grass, too.
“I like how there’s grass because some soccer fields don’t [have any],” Otto said.
Anna Scott, 19, works at the Beechmont Community Center as a summer camp counselor. She said the space where the soccer field now sits used to be part of the center’s parking lot.
“It was just a parking lot, so it was mainly just cars,” Scott said. “The kids only had the playground, and we had to be really cautious with the cars, so putting it there helped us a lot.”
Scott said she expects the center to use the new field every day.
Beechmont Community Center’s field is one of five fields planned for south Louisville. The Louisville Parks Foundation is trying to raise $383,000 to build the other fields. Three similar five-a-side fields are scheduled to be built in Wyandotte Park, and one full sized field is planned for William H. Harrison Park.
This story has been updated to correct that the nonprofit Parks Foundation — not Metro Parks — is raising money for the project.