NYCFC helped inaugurate the first 10 new mini-soccer fields in NYC. (Photo courtesy of NYCFC)
NEW YORK–– New York City FC players and officials, along with city First Lady Chirlane McCray, city administrators and community leaders helped inaugurate the first 10 new mini-soccer fields within the five boroughs Tuesday morning.
These fields are the first to open as part of the New York City Soccer Initiative, launched by Mayor de Blasio last year, a public-private partnership to build and maintain 50 mini-soccer pitches over the next five years in underserved neighborhoods across the five boroughs over the next five years, and expand afterschool programing for thousands of New York City youth. The public-private partnership costs $3 million and is expected to reach 10,000 youngsters.
The initiative is led by the Mayor’s Fund to Advance NYC, the U.S. Soccer Foundation, NYCFC, adidas and Etihad Airways. The New York City Soccer Initiative supports Mayor de Blasio’s Building Healthy Communities initiative and the shared goal of ensuring that New Yorkers of all ages can live, work, learn and play in healthy, safe neighborhoods.
“Participating in sports while I was growing up contributed a great deal to the person I am today. I want every child in New York City to have that same opportunity. The NYC Soccer Initiative provides our most vulnerable youth communities with valuable programming and life-long mentors to enrich their lives,” said McCray, Chair of the Mayor’s Fund to Advance NYC.
Also attending the ribbon-cutting ceremony at P.S. 083 Luis Munoz Rivera / P.S. 182 The Bilingual Bicultural School in Harlem were Senior Advisor to the Mayor and Director of the Office of Strategic Partnerships Gabrielle Fialkoff, and Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP, NYCFC president Jon Patricof, NYCFC head coach Patrick Vieira, sporting director Claudio Reyna and players David Villa, Jack Harrison and Sean Johnson, community leaders, agency partners and philanthropic sponsors
“We know that soccer can empower young people’s lives and in turn, they can improve their communities. We are a part of our communities across the five boroughs and that’s why we are creating 50 safe spaces to play free soccer, starting with the 10 we are launching today,” Patricof said. “The New York City Soccer Initiative pitches, along with other ‘City in the Community’ programs, have the potential to provide community hubs that bring neighborhoods together.”
The first 10 sites:
1. Hillside Park/Irwin Altman Middle School 172, Queens, Parks
2. Frederick Johnson Playground, Manhattan, Parks
3. P.S. 083 Luis Munoz Rivera, Manhattan, DOE
4. Eagle Academy For Young Men Of Staten Island/I.S.49 Berta A. Dreyfus, Staten Island, DOE
5. P.S. 093 Albert G. Oliver, Bronx, DOE
6. P.S. 019 Marino Jeantet, Queens, DOE
7. P.S. 184 Shuang Wen, Manhattan, DOE
8. Woods Playground/P.S.335 Granville T. Woods, Brooklyn, Parks
9. Triboro Bridge Playground, Queens, Parks
10. P.S. 66, Brooklyn, DOE