The headline has two meanings for me. First, and most obviously, the facility is jaw-dropping. It’s worth the drive to Tukwila, Washington just to take a look for yourself. Set on the grounds of Historic Fort Dent Park, the 54-acre parcel has been in place since the mid 1800’s. It now boasts a state of the art soccer complex that has and will continue to play a role in establishing Seattle as the premiere soccer city in the United States. Starfire is made up of 12 outdoor fields, indoor fields, grandstands, restaurants and cafés. There is also a small playground and historic landmark on site, managed by the city of Tukwila today. Nary a day goes by that those fields aren’t in use. Sure, it’s the training site for the Seattle Sounders FC; but the real turf warriors are the kids, teens, and adults who play in leagues, tournaments and after school programs.
That’s where the double-meaning of this story’s headline comes in. How Starfire is making an impression. Before a chance conversation with a staff member this week, I had no idea that Starfire Sports is a Washington State non-profit corporation and designated as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. The use-fees for those afore mentioned leagues and tournaments help pay for afterschool outreach programs for more than two dozen local organizations. Find out more about the program by clicking here. Their mission is to be an all-inclusive facility for kids, no matter their economic class or culture. The vision is to provide sports opportunities in a place that encourages academic pursuit and safe, social interaction.
Youth soccer in the northwest is experiencing an incredible growth-spurt thanks, in large part, to the success of the Seattle Sounders FC, but there’s still a socio-economic participation gap in many communities. Starfire Sports is trying to close it. On June 26th Starfire will host a FREE Soccer Jamboree for kids age 6-18 and I hope they have many hundreds attend. You don’t need a team, or be experienced. All levels and all individuals are welcome.