Youngsters playing their favorite sport on NYCFC’s newest mini-pitch. (Photo courtesy of NYCFC)
The New York City Soccer Initiative partners, including the First Lady of New York City Chirlane McCray and first team coaches and players from NYCFC, celebrated the completion of the five-year initiative with the unveiling of a final mini-pitch at P.S. 184 Shuang Wen in Chinatown, Manhattan on Wednesday.
The new mini-pitch is one of 13 that was installed this year, marking the completion of 50 mini-pitches installed across all five boroughs int five years, even amid the many challenges throughout the COVID-19 pandenic. In addition to the new play spaces, NYCSI is enabling more than 10,000 New York City youth to have free access to soccer programming in underserved communities—including the U.S. Soccer Foundation’s Soccer for Success program run by the Department of Youth & Community Development and NYCFC’s City in the Community (CITC) Foundation soccer programming.
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 and expand free soccer programming to the next generation of New Yorkers. The initiative helped spur other cities – including Chicago and Newark–to launch their own initiatives to create mini-pitches and expand access to free, high-quality programs.
NYCSI partners also announced a new commitment to install 26 more mini-pitches across the city in the lead up to the World Cup, which will be hosted across the U.S., Canada and Mexico.
The partners also are launching a new NYCSI Community Cup. This 5v5 tournament will bring together young people from all five boroughs to compete. The event will be held in spring 2022 and will run over three consecutive weekends. Programming will include free coaching, refereeing courses, and skills clinics with the goal of promoting participation and inclusivity on the mini-pitches. The tournament will culminate in a knockout stage to determine the champions of the first-ever NYCSI Community Cup. CITC will run the tournament with support from NYCSI partners, the City of New York, and local community-based organizations.
“These soccer pitches are a tremendous contribution to the mental and physical fitness of our young people. The skills they learn and the games they play provide opportunities for them to learn teamwork and empathy,” McCray said in a statement. “I thank the Mayor’s Fund and community partners for fulfilling a promise to bring 50 new soccer pitches to neighborhoods all across New York City.”
Added NYCFC CO Brad Sims: “Since our inauguration, we have been working to build a Club that is part of the fabric of this great City and one that will leave a lasting, tangible and positive impact across the five boroughs. Along with our incredible partners, we’ve made a significant step in realizing this vision by completing this ambitious 50-pitch project that will provide safe spaces for all New Yorkers to learn and play soccer. After just five years, we are tremendously proud to fulfill our promise, see these 50 pitches already having a huge impact on local communities and to know that they will forever be a part of New York City.”
- PS 184 Shuang Wen – 327 Cherry St, New York, NY 10002
- Agnes Haywood Playground – E 215th St and Barnes Avenue, The Bronx, NY 10467
- Wald Playground/ PS 188 The Island School – 442 E Houston St, New York, NY 10002
- PS 186 –7601 19th Avenue Brooklyn, New York 11214
- Vleigh Playground/PS 165 – 7035 150th St, Flushing, NY 11367
- PS 1 – 335 East 152 Street, The Bronx, NY 10451
- Bayside Playground – 102-15 Beach Channel Dr, Rockaway Park, NY 11694
- PS 187 – 349 Cabrini Blvd, New York, NY 10033
- PS 36 – 255 Ionia Ave, Staten Island, NY 10312
- Ps 57 -–140 Palma Dr, Staten Island, NY 10304
- Louis Moser Playground – 25th Avenue and 76th Street, East Elmhurst, NY 11370
- Col. Charles Young Playground – W 145 St &, Malcolm X Blvd, New York, 10037
- Peter Minuit Playground – 1615 Madison Ave #3513, New York, NY 10029