OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — On Wednesday, some small soccer players enjoyed the newest edition to the Girls Inc. campus.
Wednesday was the official ribbon-cutting for the Girls Inc. mini-pitch soccer field, the first of its kind in Omaha.
The field measures 80 feet by 50 feet and will hold about 16 youth players. More importantly, it’s right on the Girls Inc. campus.
Monica Bosiljevac, executive director of Football for the World USA, said the mini-pitch is an opportunity to learn big lessons.
“Being a girl in sport is a place where you belong and that it doesn’t mean you’re a tomboy," Bosiljevac said. "It means that you are strong, you can be athletic, it's okay to be competitive.”
These are the messages Football for the World is trying to teach through the soccer program at Girls Inc. Director of Programs for Girls Inc. Omaha, Emily Mwaja, said the sport teaches not just skills but life lessons to the players.
“Outcomes such as self-esteem and teamwork are real benefits we see from the girls," Mwaja said. "We see it all throughout hallways and we can hear it all through our hallways."
For several years now, the program has been busing girls to fields around the city to teach them the sport.
But when they began hearing about green spaces in urban areas around the country being turned into soccer fields, they decided to bring the idea to Omaha for their players.
“Why don’t we build the first one at the Girls Inc. location, so that we can emphasize and normalize women and girls and sports and provide this super amazing [field] for them to play on?'" Bosiljevac said.
On Wednesday Football for the World and Girls Inc. unveiled the new field, and celebrating alongside them was former pro soccer player Shawna Gordon.
Gordon says the international program she runs, Football for Her, has the same goal as these local organizers and she was happy to spend some time with the young athletes.
“It's important to have somebody who looks like you or resembles you or you can relate to in some way to keep them motivated and active," Gordon said.