Brooklyn Boro

Project announced to invest $3 million to build 50 soccer fields across NYC

July 12, 2016 By Scott Enman Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Kids play on a state-of-the-art soccer field in Sunset Park donated by NYCFC and the United Arab Emirates embassy. Photos courtesy of NYCFC.com
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Euro 2016 and Copa America may be finished, but the summer of soccer isn’t over quite yet.

On Tuesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio and the Mayor’s Fund to Advance NYC, along with the U.S. Soccer Foundation, New York City Football Club (NYCFC) and Adidas, announced a public-private partnership that will build 50 soccer fields in underprivileged neighborhoods across the five boroughs over the next five years.

The project is dubbed the New York City Soccer Initiative and its goal is to promote active and healthy living for the city’s youth.  All four of the sponsors have pledged to donate $750,000 toward the program for a total of $3 million.

“These new soccer fields will be essential in keeping our young New Yorkers safe, active and connected with the community,” said de Blasio. “With this partnership, we are tackling inequalities in all its forms — including in our parks and outdoor spaces.  

“In the city of immigrants, with so many different languages and cultures, the New York City Soccer Initiative will be one of the great tools we use to unify young New Yorkers,” de Blasio continued.

“Children reap critical benefits from exercise and it’s critical to form healthy fitness habits at a young age to support their physical and mental health,” said Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña.

“The New York City Soccer Initiative will provide safe outdoor space for children to engage in physical activity, have fun playing soccer and also learn about the importance of making healthy choices and being active,” Fariña continued. “As a big soccer fan myself, I know the significant impact this will have on students and families — including in many of our immigrant communities — across the city.”

In addition to building the fields, the sponsors will upkeep the pitches and provide afterschool programming for roughly 10,000 kids. NYCFC will also create a fund devoted to ongoing maintenance of the fields.  

On Tuesday morning at the Millbrook Playground in the South Bronx, de Blasio announced the locations of the first eight fields that will be built.

Two of the first eight playing surfaces will be built in Brooklyn. One will be constructed at George Gershwin Junior High School in East New York and the other at the NYCHA’s Cypress Hills houses.

Some of the fields will be ready to play on as early as next year.

This isn’t the first time that NYCFC has gotten involved in helping underserved communities across the city through soccer.

In September, NYCFC, along with the United Arab Emirates embassy, donated a state-of-the-art soccer field to P.S. 24 in Sunset Park as part of its mission to help restore communities in New York and New Jersey that were negatively impacted by Superstorm Sandy.

Since the field opened, NYCFC and its partner foundation City in the Community have hosted afterschool soccer programming and coaching on the field.

The New York City Soccer Initiative is yet another example of the growth of the sport’s popularity in the U.S. as the county attempts to catch up with its European competitors.

According to the U.S. Youth Soccer organization, the number of kids playing soccer in America has increased drastically over previous decades. There were 103,432 youth players registered to play soccer in 1974, roughly 1.6 million registered in 1990 and more than 3 million registered in 2014, the group’s website states.

The development of the “beautiful game” is further solidified by the millions of viewers that tune in to televised matches and by the many major U.S. sponsors that invest in the sport.


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