Socceroof in Sunset Park Officially Opens

November 2, 2018 Jaime DeJesus
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It’s goal in Sunset Park!

The neighborhood’s newest sporting facility, Socceroof, celebrated its official grand opening on Wednesday, November 1.

The event, held at Socceroof’s brand new space at the Whale Building, 14 53rd Street, featured a cocktail party and plenty of surprises for lucky guests.

General Manager of the spacious facility Jonathan Lupinelli discussed how the dream came to fruition.

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According to Lupinelli, the idea for the facility, “came from the minds of two French entrepreneurs, Jean-David Tartour and Jerome Meary.” It was Tartour, Lupinelli said, who started the business in France 10 years ago, growing it to locations before crossing the Atlantic for the company’s U.S. debut, right in Sunset Park.

“This is our flagship,” he told this paper. “Our first facility is here in New York because we wanted to start in the main city in the United States. We found an amazing space that goes beyond soccer. We have the view of the skyline and the Statue of Liberty. This is a place where the soccer community can mingle, and it goes beyond being just a soccer field.”

The 70,000-square-foot space includes 10 fields named after Brooklyn neighborhoods, such as Sunset Park, Bay Ridge and Red Hook; changing rooms; a high-end sports bar; multiple big-screen TVs and a rooftop with unobstructed panoramic waterfront views of Manhattan. The theme is set at the facility’s entrance, where the walls are filled with a display of international soccer jerseys.

While the company scouted a variety of locations, Lupinelli said that Sunset Park offered the best opportunities for the group.

“Brooklyn was attractive because the community is very responsive to soccer. This space was the perfect fit and we couldn’t imagine a better location to get started,” he said, mentioning the diversity of the neighborhood. “That’s definitely one of the reasons we decided to start here. Sunset Park is an extremely diverse neighborhood with a huge passion for soccer.”

The project began over a year ago. Construction took almost six months.

“Our soft opening was on September 4,” Lupinelli said. “We’ve organized a lot of events, tournaments, and we’ve brought the soccer community to check out the space, but tonight is the big launch. The real adventure starts tonight.”

The reception thus far has been very positive.

“This is an incredible feeling after months and months of hard work,” Lupinelli said. “We’ve been open for two months and really feel supported. We feel there’s a great interest and demand for our space. To have the official opening tonight is an incredible feeling.”

Lupinelli started playing soccer when he was four years old. He went on to play professionally in Spain and France before coming to the United States where he went to school and worked for Major League Soccer in New York.

“That’s when the two owners reconnected with me. One of them was my agent when I was a player,” he said. “It was just a perfect match and I was hired as general manager of the facility.”

Lupinelli said he was excited to give the borough a facility it hasn’t seen before and make the sport of soccer more accessible for everyone, including kids.

“We are open to everyone,” he said. “I think the main objective of this facility is to offer easy access for everyone in the community and New York City in general.

“Especially in the winter,” he said, “it’s very difficult to find a place to play and I think with this we’ve brought something that is necessary in New York.

“The goal of this place is to bring everyone together from professionals to people who don’t know soccer that well but want to learn and exercise,” Lupinelli went on. “People can rent a field for just an hour, come with a group of friends, parents can bring their kids, have a good time, and enjoy playing the game. There are a lot of possibilities.”

eBrooklyn Media/Photos by Jaime DeJesus

ebrooklyn media/Photos by Todd Maisel

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