BY CARLINGTON SAMUELS
The City of Mississauga announced last year that it has entered into a nine-year sponsorship agreement with The Daniels Corporation to build an outdoor soccer pitch. That promise was fulfilled on Sept. 30 as the city became the first in the region to boast a pitch of this style.
The pitch, named the Daniels Community Field, will be established in the bustling City Centre neighbourhood and mimics the looks of those in plenty of urban cities across Europe.
“As a soccer enthusiast and advocate of outdoor sports and recreation, I am thrilled to be able to announce this upcoming installation of a boxed soccer pitch for the residents of Ward 4 and for those living within the downtown,” said Councillor John Kovac.
The pitch was unveiled on Sept. 30 with a community celebration that included members of the Canadian Men’s Arena Soccer Team. This comes on the back of the pilot project of the pitch which happened last year and hundreds of people turned up for a “kick around.”
Having some fun with avid soccer fans! pic.twitter.com/8NAusRGGKl
— CASA Soccer (@CASA_2017) September 30, 2017
“That just goes to show that there is a huge demand for this kind of thing here. It’s new and exciting,” said Jovan Milkovic, in attendance at the unveiling. “It’s big in Europe so it’s good to know there’s finally one here and it’s in close proximity and easily accessible by bus, car, anything. I have no doubt there’s going to be a huge turnout every time it’s nice out.”
Kovac, a second-generation Croatian-Canadian, said the pitch is necessary in a city where “53 per cent of the population was born outside the country” and particularly in a downtown core where the youth population as big as it is.
“One of the best thing about this is how great it is for the younger kids. I wish my children had this growing up. It’s really the foundation of football. Just gather your friends, come down and you can play a five a side game. When I was growing up, it was only local parks where you could find this kind of stuff and even then you’ll be lucky finding 10 kids who want to play football,” said Frank Capicotto, a local soccer coach.
The 30-by-15-metre pitch is now open for casual drop-in games to anyone in the community and won’t be programmed or used by leagues, which could possibly lure away players from the Hershey Centre drop-in programs offered once a week.
Although the pitch has just been open this is a good sign for soccer fans across the country.