While this subway station in Atlanta, Georgia may look like an ordinary transit stop from the outside, it is actually being hailed as a groundbreaking new facility that is garnering national attention.
The 5 Points MARTA station is the world’s first subway station to host a soccer field on its roof.
Before the five-a-side pitch was built in 2016, the space had been roped off off as a vacant lot that was devoid of use. Now, as it sits on top of the city’s busiest subway station, it has become an easily accessible community space that gives athletes of all ages the chance to exercise and play outside.
The field is a product of Soccer in the Streets, an Atlanta-based athletic program for underserved youth.
Phil Hill, the executive director of the program, told Fox News that he first launched Soccer in the Streets after he experienced the stark contrast of sports culture between American and international communities.
“I could put a soccer ball down in the middle of a desert in Egypt or a harbor side in Turkey and start playing soccer with locals or kids,” Hill told the news outlet. “It was an instant connection.”
In Atlanta, however, soccer is a bit more exclusive; pitches are often only reachable by car, and their booking fees can be expensive, which makes the sport less available to the city’s low-income residents.
But with the Station Soccer field, youngsters can simply use the city’s pre-existing transit network to visit the pitch and play for free.
Not only that, but Atlanta police forces say that they have witnessed a reduction in criminal activity around the Five Points station as a result of more people being present to deter negativity.
City officials plan on collaborating with Soccer in the Streets over the course of the next few years to open nine more pitches across Atlanta.
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