Celebrating Soccer Day in the City

October 15, 2018 marked the year two celebration and unveiling of the newest Safe Places to Play mini-pitches of the New York City Soccer Initiative. Over five years, initiative partners – adidas, the Mayor’s Fund to Advance NYC, NYCFC, the U.S. Soccer Foundation, and Etihad Airways – will build and maintain 50 mini-pitches across New York City’s five boroughs. The initiative will also expand free soccer programming for thousands of local youth through the Foundation’s Soccer for Success program and through NYCFC and City in the Community Foundation programs for public school children.

The main event kicked off at Hostos-Lincoln Academy of Science/I.S. 584/P.S. X010/University Prep Charter School, where initiative partner representatives offered remarks on the positive impact the mini-pitches will have on communities across the city.

“Soccer pitches like this one mean so much to the children in the city, and it’s not just because they love the game,” said First Lady Chirlane McCray. “When kids can run safely around and play sports in their neighborhoods, they learn important skills like teamwork, they develop habits that keep them mentally and physically healthy throughout their lives, and most of all, they have fun while they’re doing it.”

“When we launched this initiative two years ago, our goal was to create safe spaces for communities and to help facilitate an enduring chapter of soccer here in our great city,” said Jon Patricof, President of NYCFC. “We plan to provide soccer programs that are always free of charge for New York City schoolchildren, where we have seen these local pitches lead to impromptu pick-up games with residents in the community. And by creating these spaces, we may well be inspiring the next great Claudio Reyna, David Villa, our captain, the [next] Alex Ring or Sean Johnson.”

“At adidas we truly believe that, through sport, we have the power to change lives,” said Alejandra Miller, Manager of Sports Marketing and Partnerships at adidas. “We are proud to be part of this project, to help bring more sports to more kids, allowing them to build a sense of team and community that will benefit them now and in their futures.”

Prior to the first kick on the pitch, local schoolchildren shared soccer-themed poems.

Living the Dream
Feeling the grass on your feet,
They’re in the air like a fairy
Hearing feet stomping like a stampede
Living the dream
Yelling until you choked
Doing the silly dance until you fall
Feeling the adrenaline run
This is fun to me
Living the dream
Trying your best
Winning it for the rest
And don’t break a sweat
Living the dream
Coach coming in
Parents say yay
You hear the news
I have made it to the team

David Villa, captain of NYCFC, took the podium to recite another student’s poem and demonstrated that, in addition to his talented toes, he has a knack for prose.

Seis letras, una palabra
Un mundo lleno de pasión
Un sentimiento llamado fútbol
Una ilusión, mi ilusión
El balón es importante para mi
Porque asi puedo saber mas de fútbol
Yo no corro solo por el balón
Estoy corriendo por mis suenos 

Six letters, one word
A world full of passion
A feeling called football
An illusion, my illusion
The ball is important to me
Because with it I know more about football
I do not run only for the ball
I am running for my dreams

After the poetry portion of the ceremony, David Villa took the pitch with his NYCFC teammates, Sean Johnson and Alex Ring, to lead children in soccer activities.

Credit: NYCFC

Hostos-Lincoln Academy of Science/I.S. 584/P.S. X010/University Prep Charter School is the ninth completed year two NYCSI mini-pitch. Initiative partners will build a total of 11 new mini-pitches by the end of 2018:

  • Hostos-Lincoln Academy of Science/ P.S. X010/I.S. 584/University Prep Charter High School (Woodstock, Bronx)
  • I.S. 384 Frances E. Carter/ P.S. 053 (Bushwick, Brooklyn)
  • Playground 62/P.S. 220 Edward Mandel (Forest Hills/Corona, Queens)
  • The Police Officer Rocco Laurie Intermediate School 72 (New Springville, Staten Island) Note: double-pitch
  • P.S. 180 Hugo Newman (Harlem, Manhattan)
  • M.S. 180 Dr. Daniel Hale Williams (Baychester, Bronx)
  • Castle Hill Playground/Castle Hill Middle School/Linden Tree Elementary School (Parkchester, Bronx)
  • Thomas C. Giordano Middle School 45/P.S. 46 Edgar Allan Poe (Belmont, Bronx)
  • Riverdale Avenue Community School P.S. 446/Riverdale Avenue Middle School (Brownsville, Brooklyn)
  • Junior High School 123 James M. Kieran/The School for Inquiry and Social Justice (Soundview, Bronx)

Over five years, New York City Soccer Initiative partners will build and maintain 50 Safe Places to Play mini-pitches and engage thousands of New York City youth in free soccer programming through the Foundation’s Soccer for Success program and through NYCFC and City in the Community Foundation programs for public school children. Learn more about the partnership here.


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  • adidas


    adidas, the Foundation’s Safe Places to Play – Mini-Pitch Partner, supports providing children in underserved communities with safe play spaces nationwide. adidas strives to be the globally leading and most popular sporting goods brand. Dedicated to innovation,  adidas embraces creativity and seeks to be socially responsible in all facets of its brand. For more information, please visit adidas.com.

  • APT


    APT (Advanced Polymer Technology), the Foundation’s Partner for Acrylic Coating Products, is a global leader in high performance sports surfaces. APT provides people around the world with safe, reliable, performance enhancing surfaces. APT’s Laykold Masters acrylic surfacing system will be the official surface of an estimated 500 mini-pitches. For more information on APT, please visit www.sportsbyapt.com.

  • CHA


    CHA Sports, the Foundation’s Supplier for Soccer Facility Design and Planning Services, provides community partners with expertise in soccer facility design. CHA Sport’s full service approach allows the company to build world-class projects without breaking budgets. For more information, please visit chacompanies.com

  • The DICK'S Sporting Goods Foundation

    The DICK'S Sporting Goods Foundation

    DICK’S Sporting Goods and The DICK’S Sporting Goods Foundation believe that participation in sports makes people better. Since 2014, DICK’S and The DICK’S Foundation have pledged more than $100 million to support youth sports teams and leagues in need.  Through our Sports Matter initiative we strive to increase awareness for underfunded youth athletics nationwide and provide much-needed support through equipment, uniform and monetary donations. For more information on Sports Matter, visit SportsMatter.org.

  • Johnson & Johnson

    Johnson & Johnson

    Johnson & Johnson, the Foundation’s grant partner, is dedicated to supporting the next generation of female leaders by providing greater access to girls’ youth soccer programming in underserved communities nationwide. As the world’s largest and most broadly based healthcare company, Johnson & Johnson strives to create healthier communities, and put a healthy mind, body and environment within reach of everyone, everywhere. For more information, please visit www.jnj.com.

  • Kwik Goal

    Kwik Goal

    Kwik Goal, the Foundation’s Official Supplier for goals, seating, boundary equipment, training equipment and coaching accessories, will be supporting a variety of Foundation programs and initiatives including: Soccer for Success, National Training and the Safe Places to Play program. Over thirty years ago, Kwik Goal was founded on the revolutionary concept of providing transportable goals for coaches at all age levels. Since that time, Kwik Goal has continued to focus on helping coaches and soccer programs create safe and dynamic learning environments by supplying high quality, safety tested soccer goals, field equipment and training equipment to the domestic and international market. For more information, please visit Kwikgoal.com.



    MLS WORKS, Major League Soccer’s community outreach initiative, is dedicated to addressing important social issues and serves as a platform for both League and club philanthropic programs. MLS WORKS seeks to establish Major League Soccer as a leader for improving the lives of people through sport. MLS WORKS is committed to improving the communities where we live and play our games by executing national programs and legacy projects, charitable giving campaigns, and undertaking various initiatives in underserved communities.

  • Musco


    As a proud corporate partner of the U.S. Soccer Foundation, Musco is dedicated to helping the major charitable arm of American soccer create new opportunities through high-quality sports lighting. Their Total Light Control—TLC for LED™ technology is engineered as a system with lighting, structural, and electrical components designed to work together for streamlined installation and long-term reliability. TLC for LED delivers superior field lighting while eliminating glare and spill from impacting surrounding neighborhoods. And Musco’s long-term warranty covering parts and labor means U.S. Soccer Foundation partners don’t have to handle any maintenance on their system, or pay for it, for 25 years. Visit https://ussoccerfoundation.org/grants/ to learn more about the grant program and application process.

  • SCORE Sports

    SCORE Sports

    SCORE Sports, the preferred provider of shin guards to the Foundation’s Soccer for Success program, is a family-owned and operated business specializing in sports equipment, uniforms and apparel. SCORE is an industry leader and has been involved in the sports community for over 40 years. SCORE outfits athletes with high-quality uniforms that SCORE develops, designs and manufactures in the U.S. SCORE takes pride in working with various non-profit groups and causes to give back to athletes who may need some extra support to play the game they love. SCORE is environmentally cautious with the materials it uses for its products and does its part in minimizing our environmental footprint. SCORE proudly offers a wide variety of products to provide customers with a one-stop shop for all your soccer needs. For more information, please visit scoresports.com.

  • Soccer.com


    Soccer.com, the Foundation’s National Partner for Soccer Equipment and Uniforms, was founded in 1984 to provide high quality soccer gear at reasonable prices through its nationally circulated catalog. Soccer.com embodies a passion for the game that extends to the people who play, coach and support soccer. For more information, please visit soccer.com.




  • Target


    Target announced a national partnership with Safe Places to Play in 2017, along with a $6 million commitment to build 100 new soccer play spaces with the U.S. Soccer Foundation by 2020. This is the latest initiative in the Minneapolis-based retailer’s multi-dimensional approach to the sport of soccer, bringing the game to more kids and families across the country, and unlocking access and increasing involvement at all levels.

  • TGI Worldwide

    TGI Worldwide

    TGI Worldwide, the Foundation’s National Partner for Visual Branding (Signage, Event Décor, Pageantry, Sponsorship Activation), Perimeter Field Board Systems, Creative Services and Event Operations is proud to support a variety of initiatives and programs throughout the United States. Headquartered in the U.S., TGI is an internationally recognized sports marketing company delivering high profile Visual Branding, Live Event Management, LED, and cutting edge Digital Sports Applications to enrich the experience at major events and deliver commercial impact for sponsors and partners. The company has a 20-year history in providing its various solutions for many top-tier domestic and international events, organizations, teams and companies, with proven success and turn-key solutions across 1000+ events, 160+ cities and 50+ countries globally.

    For more information on our services, please visit https://www.worldwidetgi.com or contact Mike Squire at msquire@worldwidetgi.com / Phone: 312-371-5852.

  • World Soccer Shop

    World Soccer Shop

    Launched in 2001, World Soccer Shop is an online soccer retailer based in Birmingham, Alabama. It carries one of the world’s widest selections of officially-licensed products from the sport’s top brands and teams. World Soccer Shop is passionate about soccer and endeavors to spread the beautiful game around the world, especially to those in areas of need. For more information, please visit www.worldsoccershop.com.


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