FAIRMONT CITY, Ill. – St. Louis City SC heads into the weekend riding high. A successful inaugural MLS season capped off with a playoff match against Sporting KC.

Days before the first match in the best-of-three series, City SC players traveled across the Mississippi River to meet fans at a pep rally to ring in the second mini-pitch competition in the bi-state region.

Children of all ages joined the pros on the brand-new mini-pitch in Granby Park in Fairmont City.

“Nowhere did we think eight years ago that we’d be opening a mini-pitch with three professional soccer players in our community, teaching our youth, and getting top-notch coaching; it’s amazing,” Fairmont City Mayor Michael Suarez said.

The team and its partners are hoping to empower the next generation of St. Louis City soccer players.

Defender and Ghana native Joshua Yaro says he wants youngsters to have the opportunities he didn’t.

“Having an opportunity like this, to have them practicing their skills, and get better every day, and hopefully they have future aspirations, this is the start,” he said. “I think the club identified a place in need for one of these (pitches).”

Barbara Silva, director of communications for City SC, says all are welcome at the mini-pitch.

“Disabled athletes can play; you can have wheelchair soccer on here; you can have amputee soccer on here; you can have blind soccer on here,” she said.

St. Louis City SC representatives say this is just one of 11 mini pitches they plan on having completed by 2026, ahead of the World Cup.