The New York City Soccer Initiative Wednesday hosted a virtual ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the installation of seven new mini-soccer pitches across the city as part of the 50-pitch project.

The unveiling included Chrilane McCray, the first lady of New York City and New York City FC goalkeeper Brad Stuver.

Launched in 2016, NYCSI is a first-of-its-kind $3 million public-private partnership between the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, NYCFC, the U.S. Soccer Foundation, adidas and Etihad Airways, to create and maintain 50 mini-pitches across the city over five years and expand free soccer programming to 10,000 young New Yorkers.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the initiative remains on track to complete the installation of all 50 pitches by the end of next year. Thirty-seven pitches have been constructed throughout all five boroughs. Youth players have access to free programming, including the U.S. Soccer Foundation’s Soccer for Success program run by the Department of Youth and Community Development and NYCFC’s City in the Community Foundation program, at these locations.

This year’s veiling was moved online because of physical distancing protocols. The virtual event was hosted by FOX5 lead sports anchor Tina Cervasio, and will include a performance by Renaissance Youth from the South Bronx and a video roll call featuring a ribbon cutting from each new site.

The centerpiece of this year’s event was the culmination of a youth mini-pitch design contest. For the past month, students have been invited to submit artwork that showcases how a new safe place to play can come to life in their local community.

Seventy-five percent of the submissions were designed by young women with interest in soccer, design and architecture.

Last week, three finalists were selected by a panel of renowned urban designers, community leaders, and representatives from each of the NYCSI partners including: David Hodge (Partner at Rafael Viñoly Architects), Rick Parisi (MPFP: Landscape Architecture & Urban Design), Jon Stemp (Chief Infrastructure Officer at City Football Group), Marta Hernandez (New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene), Paul Philps (Bronx Community Board Four), and Eric Klinenberg (Professor of Social Science and Director of the Institute for Public Knowledge at New York University).


New York City Soccer Initiative Year Four 2020 Mini-Pitches
  • Utopia Playground (Utopia, Queens) –73rd Avenue &, Utopia Pkwy, Fresh Meadows, NY 11366
  • Pomonok Playground (Pomonok, Queens)- Kissena Blvd. &, 65th Ave, Flushing, NY 11367
  • Fresh Meadows Playground (Fresh Meadows, Queens) – 173rd St, Fresh Meadows, NY 11365
  • PS 007 (East Harlem, Manhattan) – 160 E 120th St, New York, NY 10035
  • PS 60 (Bulls Head, Staten Island) – 55 Merrill Ave, Staten Island, NY 10314
  • PS 18 (Randall Manor, Staten Island) – 221 Broadway, Staten Island, NY 10310
  • IS 117 Joseph H Wade (Tremont) – 1865 Morris Ave, The Bronx, NY 10453

Front Row Soccer editor Michael Lewis has covered 13 World Cups (eight men, five women), seven Olympics and 25 MLS Cups. He has written about New York City FC, New York Cosmos, the New York Red Bulls and both U.S. national teams for Newsday and has penned a soccer history column for the Lewis, who has been honored by the Press Club of Long Island and National Soccer Coaches Association of America, is the former editor of He has written seven books about the beautiful game and has published ALIVE AND KICKING The incredible but true story of the Rochester Lancers. It is available at