Imagine a soccer field in a Chicago suburb where kids of all ages can play just for fun, with minimal adult interference, without paying a fee for the privilege.

Well, that’s the situation at Evanston’s Robert Crown Park, 1701 Main St., thanks to a generous donation that created a soccer pitch designed to foster unstructured, but more fun, soccer play.

Dubbed “Evanston Free Play,” this is an experimental summer program with one small-sided soccer pitch that planners hope to rotate to other Evanston park locations later in the summer.

“Evanston Free Play” includes supervision during pre-specified times. All other times are first-come, first-served, subject to limited reserved time periods.

Supervised times are:

Tuesdays and Thursdays:

4 p.m. to 5 p.m. – Players up to and including age 10 (birth year 2007 or later)

5 p.m. to 6 p.m. – Players up to and including age 12 (birth year 2005 or later)

6 p.m. to 7 p.m. – Players up to and including age 14 (birth year 2003 or later)

7 p.m. to 8 p.m. – Players up to and including age 16 (birth year 2001 or later)

8 p.m. to 9 p.m. – Players age 17 and over


5 p.m. to 8 p.m.  – Adults with children

For questions about play or using the soccer pitch, residents may call/text (847) 448-4311, or, for convenience, dial 3-1-1 in Evanston.

Charles Bartling

A resident of Evanston since 1975, Chuck Bartling holds a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and has extensive experience as a reporter and editor for daily newspapers, radio...

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