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Building Soccer Fields at Rail Stations to Create Compelling Community Spaces

Atlanta, GA, USA
MARTA

Government Champion

Public Transit

Cost

Zero upfront cost to local government

Project Status

Operational since 2016

At a Glance

Connecting communities through transit, soccer, and leadership training. StationSoccer is a program run by an Atlanta not-for-profit, Soccer in the Streets. The organization provides free soccer programs for underserved youth in the metro Atlanta area.

Problem Addressed

Soccer in the Streets is a not-for-profit organization that works to develop young leaders so they can lead rich lives and cultivate healthy communities through sports-based youth development. Core to its mission is providing better access to quality soccer programs and making youth ready for employment. Founded in 1989 in Atlanta, the organization reaches kids through soccer play, work-readiness training, hands-on experiential activities, and participation in youth leadership councils. The organization is gaining worldwide recognition for its ‘StationSoccer’ initiative – which builds soccer fields and community classrooms in and around metro transit hubs.

ItsMARTA.com used/is using Rail Stations & Soccer to address this/these challenge(s).

Solution(s) Used

Positive-Choice Soccer uses soccer as a medium for educating kids to create a more positive life for themselves by matching important life skills with accompanying soccer skills. Specific character traits are emphasized throughout the program to prepare the kids for success on and off the field. The idea for Positive-Choice came from the discussion about what is lacking in youth development programs. Kids are given so many “DON’T” messages, like “Don’t Do Drugs”, “Don’t Smoke”, “Don’t Join Gangs”, and so on. This program is based on giving kids “DO” messages. “Do get an education”, “Do find role models and mentors”, “Do participate in healthy outlets, like sports”, and the list goes on.

The program focuses on elementary school aged children and serves as a foundation for our programming going forward. The selected character traits we emphasize through Positive-Choice serve as the five pillars of our programming: Respect. Teamwork. Perseverance. Tolerance. Sportsmanship.

Outcomes

  1. Increased health outcomes
  2. Increased youth opportunities and education
  3. Increased local community connectivity around stations and activities

Who Should Consider?

Public transit agencies with spare station real estate looking to better connect and serve their communities.

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