“I’m proud of this day and this moment. As far as FC Harlem, we’ve come a long way, and without the support of the U.S. Soccer Foundation behind us, this would not have been possible. It’s helping a lot of all these kids in the communities and I’m proud of it.”
– Glen Daley, Founder of FC Harlem
What was once a rundown asphalt playground in the center of Harlem is now home to an oasis of green where youth soccer players from FC Harlem and local organizations can play the game they love.
On April 9, 2010 the U.S. Soccer Foundation joined Irv Smalls, Executive Director of FC Harlem, Major League Soccer, The Children’s Aid Society, FieldTurf, and local politicians for the grand opening of a FieldTurf soccer field in downtown Harlem.
“This great day was a long time coming,” said Smalls
In 2008, the U.S. Soccer Foundation and MLS W.O.R.K.S. sponsored a gala to raise funds for the field project in Harlem – a city where safe play spaces and positive activities are desperately needed for area youth.
“Soccer is the world’s most popular game. But it’s more than a game, it’s a vehicle to get kids connected to positive outcomes in their life, to increase their physical activity, to get them connected to positive adult role models, and also to teach them teamwork, collaboration, and discipline,” said Ed Foster-Simeon, President of the U.S. Soccer Foundation.
Richard Buery, President and CEO of the Children’s Aid Society, a non-profit dedicated to serving the children of New York City, also recognized the importance of the new field to the community.
“We know young people need mentorship, support, education, and of course sports, because we know that sports are a great tool to teach leadership, to teach teamwork to help people be healthy and happy,” said Buery.
“This is the largest city in the country, and it’s a city that’s made up of people from all other countries from around the world,” added Don Garber, Commissioner of Major League Soccer. “This is the beautiful game that represents every ethnicity and it is such a diverse opportunity for people to come together and celebrate this sport.”
Learn more about Field Grants from the U.S. Soccer Foundation.