Pro Iowa, Kick it Forward help dedicate mini-pitch at Perry Elementary School

Allison Ullmann
Perry Chief

The playground behind Perry Elementary was a busy place with groups of fifth-graders taking turns kicking the ball around the new futsal court on Thursday, Nov. 4.

“I’m super excited to be in Perry because we know it’s getting used, we know kids love it. It’s obvious from being here that they’re all about it so getting to see it in action just feels really good,” said Ben Brackett, with Kick it Forward. 

Brackett was joined by Kyle Davy with Pro Iowa to dedicate a new mini-pitch, which Davy said is a small-sided soccer court for the game of futsal. The mini-pitch was installed in winter 2020 and work was recently completed. 

Pro Iowa partnered with Musco Lighting and Kick it Forward to donate 10 mini-pitches to communities throughout the state. Perry’s court is the eighth to be dedicated.

“We’ve worked to identify different areas and cities that we could turn maybe an unused park or an unused basketball court into one of these cool mini-pitches that comes complete with benches, goals and lighting, the whole deal, ready for kids to play all day and into the evening and making the game of soccer that much more accessible,” Davy said. “You need a lot less kids to play a full game of futsal compared to a full game of soccer and a lot less space too.”

Kyle Davy with Pro Iowa helps dedicate the new mini-pitch on Thursday, Nov. 4 at Perry Elementary School.

Christine Krohn, a Perry High School teacher, helped bring the futsal court to Perry.

"I happened to come across it on Twitter initially," Krohn said in an earlier Perry Chief story. "My family is a soccer family with my husband being the girls high school soccer coach and my son plays club soccer. I saw the initiative and thought it would be great for Perry and I reached out to them about putting the court at the schools and we were able to make it work at the elementary school."

Perry Elementary Principal Ryan Marzen was busy on Nov. 4 handing out jerseys to a large group of fifth-graders waiting for their turn on the new mini-pitch.

“As you can see here, we have a lot of kids excited to try and get onto the court,” he said. “It’s been a great addition to our playground and more importantly to our community here, to just keep building on to that enthusiasm for soccer.”

He also thanked the partners involved for bringing the mini-pitch to Perry. While the court has been popular with elementary students, Marzen has also noticed high school students and community members utilizing it at night under the lights.

Perry fifth-graders play a game of futsal following a dedication for the new mini-pitch on Thursday, Nov. 4, 2021, at Perry Elementary School.

“It’s been awesome for them to come and participate and utilize this court,” Marzen said. “It’s a great way to keep on building that enthusiasm (for soccer).”

Marzen and Davy hope that the mini-pitch helps spark an interest in soccer that carries the elementary students through to middle school and high school.

“We wanted to work to integrate into the community across the state to make the game of soccer more accessible and fun and engaging to kids and adults alike,” Davy said. “This mini-pitch initiative really was an exciting way for us to do that, and to start that community-building process and grow the game one kid at a time.”

He was happy to see the court already get a lot of use on Nov. 4 in Perry.

“Perry is very much a soccer community so it was a natural fit for us and from all we’ve seen today, this thing is getting amazing use and it’s not slowing down anytime soon,” Davy said.

Perry fifth-graders play a game of futsal following a dedication for the new mini-pitch on Thursday, Nov. 4, 2021, at Perry Elementary School.