Garfield Square brings its Mission District community together around a playground, recreation center, indoor swimming pool, volleyball court -- and, historically, a bare, dusty, half-sized dirt playfield. The park is the hub of the neighborhood and is a beehive of constant activity.
Before the renovation, the field was known in the neighborhood as "el parque donde te rompes el pie," meaning "the park where you break your foot." Most of the year, it was a dry, rutted, mostly dirt lot, and after a rain, it was a muddy pit. Despite its condition, the fields were still in high demand for local youth organizations and pick-up soccer games by the Mission's soccer-loving families.
The Garfield Square soccer field renovation was the first joint project between the City of San Francisco and the City Fields Foundation to revitalize city athletic fields. The park received a new synthetic turf field, with permanent soccer goals and U-10 soccer lines, giving Garfield Park's neighbors a safe place to run and play all year round, regardless of weather. The field is green and lush underfoot, with no dust or mud or gopher holes, and new lights allow games to extend into the evening.
The turf soccer field remains a point of pride for the neighborhood with neighborhood kids and organized teams sharing the space with open, competitive pick-up games. Without needing to close the field for rainouts or field regrowth or dark, the new field nearly doubled the amount of play on the field, adding more than 1,600 additional hours for playing time. The new field, bordered by redone picnic areas and landscaping, makes Garfield Park a vibrant community gathering spot for neighborhood families.
Jeanne Darrah, longtime neighborhood resident and soccer mom, believes the field has benefitted the entire community. “The renovated Garfield soccer fields made a big difference in our neighborhood. Instead of an empty dirt lot, we have a field full of people playing ball. The soccer field has become a gathering place for our community; a place where we all come together to play.”