New ‘mini-pitch’ offers soccer training opportunities at Marion park

A new, unique feature of Hanna Park in Marion offers something for soccer players in the Cedar Rapids metro area.
Published: Oct. 20, 2021 at 8:32 AM CDT
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MARION, Iowa (KCRG) - You can disregard those rumors about a new cowpen in Hanna Park.

The brand new mini-pitch is about the size of a tennis court, but it’s for soccer, and it includes walls and built in goals.

Local advocates, like Dan Tuuri, teamed with groups like Musco, Kick It Forward, and Pro Iowa to get the facilities built.

“When we play on a hard surface court, like this, the ball moves faster,” Dan Tuuri said. “With walls surrounding the mini-pitch, we’re able to have rebounds and practice first touches.”

“It kinda helps you develop skills, like on the grass too, because the ball moves a lot faster, so you have to move faster too,” Gracie Schwartz said.

“It allows for continuous play for younger kids, the ball is always in play” Tony Ireland, with the Marion Parks and Recreation Department, said. “For older people, it is all about footwork, keeping the ball close.”

Ten mini-pitches have been built in Iowa in the last two years, this is the only one in the TV9 viewing area.

Tuuri said because soccer is a small-sided game, it’s easier to get two or three friends out compared to getting full 11 versus 11 squads.

“Fun to meet new people too,” Anna Tuuri said. “People just come to play together, and it is something the community can bond with.”

That’s the hope behind these small soccer fields, that they will act like basketball courts attracting people who just show up to play.

“I think soccer, in general, is a player’s game, Dan Tuuri said. “When we go to fast-paced environments like this, players make their own decisions, and they’re in control. They decide when they want to meet friends at the park, when they want to practice, when they just want to go have fun.”

The mini-pitch in Marion also has lights. Just close the gate when you’re finished.

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