It’s a favorite sport for many kids but the cost keeps many of them from playing it. Now, youth soccer players in the Bay Area have a new alternative: soccer fields that anyone can use for a low price.
- New Pinellas Park soccer fields open to all at a low price
- BT Sports Academy on 49th Street
- More info on BT Sports Academy
Bruce To invested his own money to build new soccer fields in Pinellas Park. He wants them open to everyone.
“I’ve come across a lot of kids who couldn’t afford to play, especially travel clubs,” To said.
He and volunteers cleared out a junkyard on 49th Street, turning it into BT Sports Academy. It’s a place where anyone can play a pickup game of soccer.
“Our goal is to have a place where kids, or adults even, can come play the game and not have to worry about being asked to leave,” To said.
The fields are a hit. They consistently fill up with parents and some smaller leagues who can’t pay thousands for a soccer club.
“We want parents to be able to get good coaching without paying an arm and a leg for it,” said parent and soccer coach Matthew Young.
To has plans to build even more, including some indoor fields and even a restaurant. It’s part of a lifelong dream to see no child turned away from a game.
“Every time I watch kids, dads, moms playing, kids versus coach, it’s a great feeling,” To said.
BT Sports Academy does charge a small fee, sometimes as low as $5 for a pickup game. To says that is lower than what many public parks charge. Plus, To says many public parks are usually occupied by bigger leagues.