Gainesville has a new soccer field thanks to Atlanta United. Here’s how they got it

May 24—Players with Atlanta United’s soccer team walk-passed, dribbled, spot-kicked and executed patterns of elite footwork alongside 50-100 young athletes at Myrtle Street Park in Gainesville Wednesday as the professional fútbol club fulfilled a year-long promise of bringing a miniature soccer field to the city’s eastside.

The basketball court there at the park already had long been used as a makeshift soccer field.

Now, with capital available through the Georgia 100 matching fund grant, The Atlanta United Community Fund — a subcommittee of the Arthur Blank Foundation — selected Gainesville as one of 100 cities to receive the miniature field that was already in use Wednesday evening.

Atlanta United Community Fund Committee member Chris Raimondi explained that after the city of Gainesville’s Parks and Recreation Department and United Way of Hall County learned of the $75,000 offered through the grant, officials were eager to pursue the opportunity and made it happen.

Gainesville is now the second city in Georgia to meet all of the criteria for the grant, Raimondi said.

“We know this community has been wanting more soccer fields…just seeing what the support of soccer can do for youth — but just the community at large — to bring people together. It’s awesome,” Raimondi said.

Mayra Rodriguez, who stood watching her young son drill a soccer ball toward a goal Wednesday, described the impact she believes the new field will have in the Myrtle Street community.

“It means a lot, especially since soccer has grown throughout the community, this means a lot that they took us into consideration,” she said. “My son loves to play soccer. I love to play soccer. So I’m glad they did this.”

Standing alongside professional soccer players Brad Guzan, Tyler Wolff and Amar Sejdić, Mayor Sam Couvillon delivered a statement of gratitude to the Atlanta United Community Fund, calling the new field an asset to the city.

“To be in the presence of professional athletes like this — for these young people to be able to see them and be exposed — that means the world to them and I’m very grateful,” Couvillon said. “Soccer is so important — not only in our country, but specifically here in our town of Gainesville. For you guys to decide to invest in our community, that just means the world to us. For (kids) to have a safe place to go, after school, to come play with their friends, learn the game and hopefully grow the game, this is just so meaningful.”