Philadelphia, PA – Today, Mayor Jim Kenney and Parks and Recreation Commissioner Kathryn Ott Lovell announced that commitment letters for the 2017 Philadelphia International Unity Cup are now available for teams to register their participation. They were also joined by Chief Strategy Officer of the U.S. Soccer Foundation, Jen Jinks, to launch the Unity Youth Soccer League. GOYA is also returning as the presenting sponsor for the 2017 Unity Cup. Additionally, Philadelphia Eagles President Don Smolenski joined the Mayor and other City officials to announce that Lincoln Financial Field will play host to the 2017 Philadelphia International Unity Cup championship game.
“I am thrilled to build on the success of last year’s Philadelphia International Unity Cup by launching the Unity Youth Soccer League” said Mayor Kenney. “I want to thank the U.S. Soccer Foundation for partnering with us to introduce soccer to a new generation of Philadelphians through the Unity Youth Soccer League. It’s exciting to see how the PIUC is growing and connecting with our communities and youth citywide through soccer.”
“We are excited to partner with Mayor Kenney and the City of Philadelphia to bring the community together around soccer,” said Jen Jinks, Chief Strategy Officer for the U.S. Soccer Foundation. “Through this partnership, we can improve the health and social outcomes of more children through increased access to proven soccer programming.”
“We are pleased to be the host venue for the Philadelphia International Unity Cup championship game,” said Smolenski. “Lincoln Financial Field will serve as a great backdrop for the championship finale of this tournament. We are happy to support Mayor Kenney, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation and Unity Cup officials on this multi-cultural community event.”
The Unity Youth Soccer league is modeled after the U.S. Soccer Foundation’s “Soccer for Success” program and will incorporate its curriculum and standards. It will build on the positive momentum of Philadelphia International Unity Cup by providing programming for 8-12 year olds in diverse communities in Philadelphia beginning in spring 2017. The league aims to support sports-based youth development and to encourage children to live an active and healthy lifestyle while enhancing their personal growth beyond athletics. The league will also provide employment, training, and mentoring opportunities for the league’s coaches, many of whom played in the inaugural Philadelphia International Unity Cup.
“I am excited to build the next generation of Unity Cup players and coaches through the Unity Youth Soccer League.” said Commissioner Ott Lovell “Everyday at Parks and Recreation we see the tremendous impact sports-based youth development is having on young people throughout the city. Additionally, I want to thank the leaders from across City government who are collaborating with us to produce the Philadelphia International Unity Cup. Including Sheila Hess, the City Representative for Philadelphia, Kelly Lee, Chief Cultural Office for the City of Philadelphia, Miriam Enriquez from the Office of Immigrant Affairs, and Joanna Otero- Cruz, Deputy Managing Director of the City of Philadelphia’s Office of Community Services ”
While only one team can represent a country, this year there is no limit on the number of teams that can participate in the tournament. To register for the 2017 Philadelphia International Unity Cup, a letter of commitment and a deposit of check or money order in the amount of $100, made payable to ‘City of Philadelphia’ must be submitted in-person at the Office of Immigrant Affairs, Municipal Services Building, Suite 1430. Commitment letters with details on how to register for the 2017 Unity Cup are available at all City recreation centers, at the Office of Immigrant Affairs, and online at www.phila.gov/unitycup through May 5, 2017.
For more information about the planning for the 2017 PIUC, as well as highlights and photos from the inaugural 2016 PIUC, visit http://unitycup.phila.gov/.