Our programming in Pittsburgh officially began in the spring of 2019 after years of developing our model in Africa. Through partnership with youth-serving organizations and strong relationships with community members, our programming works to create positive experiences on and off the field for youth in several neighborhoods in Pittsburgh. We provide leadership training to teenagers who serve as coaches and referees who then mentor younger children in their neighborhood. Our CHAMPS (CHange Agents Mentoring Peers through Sport) program probides summer employment opportunities, mentoring, and skills development to support success in the classroom, at home, and in the workforce.
We partner with the Somali Bantu Community Association of Pittsburgh to facilitate our programming near the Northview Heights neighborhood. This was our pilot program in Pittsburgh and some highlights over the years include:
2019 - Programming engaged more than 60 youth from different backgrounds, led by a team of 8 teenage coach mentors.
2020 - Summer programs suspended due to COVID-19, and resumed in Fall 2020 at Fowler Park for 22 youth who participanted consistently
2021 - 3 seasons of programming at Fowler Park for more than 30 youth ages 5-18 from Northview Heights and other neighborhoods on the North Side
Our long-time partnership with ARYSE allows us to incorporate our educational and skill-building sport programming into their after school club and summer academy for more than 80 refugee youth in Pittsburgh. Our soccer sessions for younger children focus on learning important social skills like teamwork and fair play. With older children, we focus these social skills as well as communication, conflict resolution, and health & well-being. We first partnered with ARYSE in 2014 to incorporate our Life Skills + Soccer programs developed in Cameroon into one of their first summer academies.
Open Field works with more than 60 youth in this diverse neighborhood, populated with recently resettled refugees from Central and East Africa and the Middle East, as well as Pittsburgh residents and immigrants from other countries. Our program creates a safe and structured place for newly-arrived youth to play the game they love, learn new social skills, and get connected in their new neighborhood, making Pittsburgh truly feel like home.
2019 - Programming begin at neighborhood playground for 40 youth from different backgrounds, led by a team of mostly volunteer coach mentors.
2020 - Summer programs expanded to 3 days per week at Pittsburgh Classical Academy for 60+ youth and continued in Fall with similar numbers. Hosted teams from Northview for first-ever Open Field Classic friendly match
2021 - 3 seasons of programming at PCA for more than 60 youth ages 5-18, led by 4 teenagers serving as Youth Leaders and assistant coach mentors
Our girls program aims to promote both individual and community development, bringing together girls from diverse backgrounds to bridge cultural divides between immigrants and refugees and their American-born peers. Girls in our programs come from Congo, Uganda, Tanzania, Somalia, Syria, Afghanistan, and the U.S. Girls who participate build healthy relationships with one another and their female coach mentors. Through the program structure and curricula, we aim to increase confidence and life skills so that participants thrive in school, at home, and in their community.
Indoor Soccer Programs
We registered 3 teams in the CitiParks Futsal (indoor soccer) league. The players are members of our year-round, neighborhood-based programs that incorproate Social & Emotional Learning into soccer. Many of them are also Youth Leaders, serving as assistant coach mentors who help lead after-school programs and summer camps throughout the year (while earning a paycheck and learning workforce development skills). Check out the schedule here.