SAN FRANCISCO, CA – New Goalphers have gone up at the Sunset Recreation Center’s basketball courts, meaning more kids will be able to play soccer, roller hockey, and other sports on the blacktop, SF Rec and Park officials announced today.
The two 4-foot by 6-foot Goalphers, which are permanent, collapsible goal posts that are installed underneath basketball hoops, were made possible through a partnership with non-profit The Over Under Initiative, which works to increase access to sports in urban neighborhoods, and The DICK’S Sporting Goods Foundation, which generously donated $35,000 to fund the court conversion at Sunset Recreation Center.
Goalphers were developed and patented by The Over Under Initiative founder and former professional soccer player Kyle Martino years back. The Goalphers give way to the first pop-up street soccer court of its kind in San Francisco’s park system, converting an outdoor basketball court into a multi-sport space within seconds.
The Goalphers are a welcome addition, as Rec and Park has a proud history of supporting soccer. Rec and Park runs more than 90 soccer camps and youth classes annually, with more than 10,000 kids participating. Additionally, the department gives more than $1 million in scholarships each year for kids to participate in recreational activities, meaning no one is turned away for lack of funds.
“Whether it’s soccer, roller hockey, or basketball, the goal here is to get kids outside and give them options when it comes to play,” said Rec and Park General Manager Phil Ginsburg. “Kids shouldn’t be limited to what sports they can play just because they live in a dense, urban area. These new Goalphers will help expand soccer, adding to Rec and Park’s storied history of supporting the sport.”
“Phil Ginsburg and the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department were among the first leaders to see our vision for multi-sport play. We're proud to partner with them and The DICK'S Sporting Goods Foundation to open play at Sunset Recreation Center and we are overwhelmed by the positive early feedback we've received from the community,” OUI Founder Kyle Martino said.
“At DICK’S Sporting Goods, we believe that sports have the power to change lives,” said Lyle Greene, DICK’S Sporting Goods community marketing manager. “Giving back and providing access to play has been part of our culture since the company was founded, and we are proud to be a part of this installation at Sunset Rec Center.”
The Goalphers have been installed just as the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup fervor takes over the city. Adding to the excitement, Rec and Park and its partners are currently hosting the World Cup Village, which consist of free public watch parties at some of the city’s most iconic public spaces. The next and final World Cup Village event for the quarterfinal game between Spain and the Netherlands takes place on Thursday, Aug. 10 from 4 to 9 p.m. at the Crossing at East Cut at 200 Folsom Street.
PHOTO CAPTIONS: Children playing with San Jose Earthquakes player Jeremy Ebobisse on the new multi-sport court at Sunset Recreation Center.