Partners announce commitment to create 26 new mini-pitches in lead up to 2026 World Cup and creation of NYCSI Community Cup—a free 5v5 tournament across 50 NYCSI mini-pitches for youth from all five boroughs
New York, NY – Today, the New York City Soccer Initiative (NYCSI) partners—including the First Lady of New York City Chirlane McCray and First Team coaches and players from New York City Football Club (NYCFC)—celebrated the completion of the five-year initiative with the unveiling of a final mini-pitch at P.S. 184 Shuang Wen in Chinatown, Manhattan.
The new mini-pitch is one of 13 that was installed this calendar year, marking the completion of 50 mini-pitches installed across all five boroughs in just five years–even amid the many challenges throughout COVID. In addition to the new play spaces, NYCSI is enabling more than 10,000 New York City youth to have free access to soccer programming in underserved communities—including the U.S. Soccer Foundation’s Soccer for Success program run by the Department of Youth & Community Development (DYCD) and NYCFC’s City in the Community (CITC) Foundation soccer programming.
Launched in 2016, NYCSI is a first-of-its-kind $3 million public-private partnership between the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, NYCFC, the U.S. Soccer Foundation, adidas, and Etihad Airways to create and maintain 50 mini-pitches across the City and expand free soccer programming to the next generation of New Yorkers. The initiative helped spur other cities– including Chicago and Newark–to launch their own initiatives to create mini-pitches and expand access to free, high-quality programs.
NYCSI partners also announced today a new commitment to install 26 more mini-pitches across the city in the lead up to the FIFA World Cup 2026™ which will be hosted across the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.
In addition, the partners are launching a brand-new NYCSI Community Cup. Excitingly, this 5v5 tournament will bring together young people from all five boroughs to compete. The celebratory event will be held in spring 2022 and will run over three consecutive weekends. Programming will include free coaching, refereeing courses, and skills clinics with the goal of promoting participation and inclusivity on the mini-pitches. The tournament will culminate in a knockout stage to determine the champions of the first-ever NYCSI Community Cup. CITC will run the tournament with support from NYCSI partners, the City of New York, and local community-based organizations.
“These soccer pitches are a tremendous contribution to the mental and physical fitness of our young people. The skills they learn and the games they play provide opportunities for them to learn teamwork and empathy,” said First Lady Chirlane McCray. “I thank the Mayor’s Fund and community partners for fulfilling a promise to bring 50 new soccer pitches to neighborhoods all across New York City.”
“Since our inauguration, we have been working to build a Club that is part of the fabric of this great City and one that will leave a lasting, tangible and positive impact across the five boroughs,” said Brad Sims, CEO of NYCFC. “Along with our incredible partners, we’ve made a significant step in realizing this vision by completing this ambitious 50-pitch project that will provide safe spaces for all New Yorkers to learn and play soccer. After just five years, we are tremendously proud to fulfill our promise, see these 50 pitches already having a huge impact on local communities and to know that they will forever be a part of New York City.”
“After five years of dedicated partnership, the New York City Soccer Initiative delivers its promise of building 50 soccer pitches on which young New Yorkers can play, learn, and grow into future leaders, ” said Daniele Baierlein and Jorge Luis Paniagua Valle, Co-Executive Directors of the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City. “Thanks to the unwavering support of the New York City Football Club, the U.S. Soccer Foundation, adidas, Etihad Airways, Astoria Energy, the Staten Island Foundation, and countless community partners across the five boroughs, thousands of children will receive free soccer programming on these pitches for years to come.”
“New York is a city of big ideas and I’m thrilled to see this big idea come to life in a way that transforms the soccer landscape and benefits thousands of young people across all five boroughs,” said Ed Foster-Simeon, President & CEO of the U.S. Soccer Foundation. “I’m grateful for all our partners who helped make these 50 mini-pitches a reality over the past five years and who continue to ensure they are open for free play and high-quality programming at no cost to children and their families.”
“Sport has the power to change lives, providing young athletes with the opportunity to learn valuable skills to support their future. Everyone should have a safe place for sport in their communities and we are incredibly proud of our partnership with the New York City Soccer Initiative to introduce the city’s next mini-pitch,” said Skate Noftsinger, Director of Soccer Sports Marketing at adidas.
“Etihad Airways is proud to be part of this initiative, and we hope these pitches will continue to bring to the children of New York City the joy of soccer and the valuable life lessons team sports teach for a long time to come,” remarked Vincent Frascogna, Vice President, Americas, Etihad Airways.
To celebrate the completion of the five-year initiative, The Third Rail – NYCFC’s independent Supporters Group – designed and created a tifo banner inspired by local youth and the poetry and photographs they have created and showcased at other NYCSI grand opening events throughout the partnership.
The mini-tifo for the new Chinatown mini-pitch will be unveiled at the ribbon cutting ceremony at P.S. 184 Shuang Wen. Following remarks and the unveiling of the tifo, students will participate in inaugural scrimmages on the pitch, coached by NYCFC First Team players.
Earlier this year, on Juneteenth, NYCSI opened a mini-pitch at Colonel Charles Young Playground in Harlem. This mini-pitch is unique from the other mini-pitches in that it was created in partnership with and designed by Black Players for Change (BPC) and Black Women’s Player Collective (BWPC)—two independent, Black player-led organizations focused on tackling racial injustices in society and in the game of soccer.
The 50 mini-pitches are located at parks and public schools across the City.
“The New York City Soccer Initiative is near and dear to me, and it is with great joy that we celebrate with our partners the completion of this successful 5-year initiative and the 50th soccer pitch built as part of the program,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Gabrielle Fialkoff. “Public private partnerships help change lives, and these new, vibrant fields are a testament to this successful collaboration, expanding recreational opportunities and improving health outcomes for some of the city’s most historically underserved. This latest addition at P.S. 184 advances greenspace equity in the Lower East Side, and will enhance the lives of city residents for years to come.”
“The NYC Soccer Initiative not only provides world class soccer pitches for our young people, but it is also a community-wide commitment to ensuring that our young people have caring adults and athletic programming that keeps them engaged in school and their community. We are so appreciative of all of the partners who came together to make this a reality,” said Chancellor Meisha Porter, NYC Department of Education.
New York City Soccer Initiative Year Five Mini-Pitch Sites
- PS 184 Shuang Wen – 327 Cherry St, New York, NY 10002
- Agnes Haywood Playground – E 215th St and Barnes Avenue, The Bronx, NY 10467
- Wald Playground/ PS 188 The Island School – 442 E Houston St, New York, NY 10002
- PS 186 –7601 19th Avenue Brooklyn, New York 11214
- Vleigh Playground/PS 165 – 7035 150th St, Flushing, NY 11367
- PS 1 – 335 East 152 Street, The Bronx, NY 10451
- Bayside Playground – 102-15 Beach Channel Dr, Rockaway Park, NY 11694
- PS 187 – 349 Cabrini Blvd, New York, NY 10033
- PS 36 – 255 Ionia Ave, Staten Island, NY 10312
- PS 57 -–140 Palma Dr, Staten Island, NY 10304
- Louis Moser Playground – 25th Avenue and 76th Street, East Elmhurst, NY 11370
- Col. Charles Young Playground – W 145 St &, Malcolm X Blvd, New York, 10037
- Peter Minuit Playground – 1615 Madison Ave #3513, New York, NY 10029
NYCSI partners worked with a variety of organizations to identify sites across the City throughout the initiative.
“We strongly believe that exercise is key to good health and so The Staten Island Foundation Board approved its investment in the mini-pitches as part of our health focus. We appreciated this opportunity to join the Fund and other partners in investing in sites where Staten Island youth increase their physical activity. Our combined investments will benefit many children for many years ahead,” said Laura Jean Watters, Executive Director of The Staten Island Foundation.
“An amazing accomplishment, 50 mini-pitches in 5 years! We are proud to have partnered with the Mayors Fund, New York City Football Club, U.S. Soccer Foundation, adidas, and Etihad Airways, to help bring this exemplary example of public-private partnership to fruition. Sustainable infrastructure is at the core of our guiding principles, and playing a role in this remarkable endeavor has been extremely rewarding,” said Charles McCall, CEO of Astoria Energy.
New York City Soccer Initiative Mini-Pitches to Date
To learn more about NYCSI and find a mini-pitch near you, visit nyc.gov/site/fund/initiatives/city-soccer.page.
Download photos of the mini-pitch at P.S. 184 Shuang Wen here.
Download a video about the initiative here.
ABOUT NEW YORK CITY FC
New York City Football Club (NYCFC) is an American professional soccer team that competes in Major League Soccer (MLS) in the Eastern Conference of the League. It was announced as the League’s 20th franchise on May 21, 2013 and is the first and only MLS Club located within the five boroughs of New York City. NYCFC kicked off its inaugural MLS season in March 2015 and is majority owned by City Football Group (CFG). The Club has qualified for MLS playoffs the last six consecutive seasons; in 2019 the Club finished at the top of the Eastern Conference and qualified for the 2020 CONCACAF Champions League for the first time in franchise history. NYCFC’s Academy currently features teams from the U-12 to U-18 age groups and became the first Academy in the country to win back-to-back national titles at the U-19 level. NYCFC proudly supports City in the Community (CITC) foundation to use the power of soccer to uplift communities; one of the programs, New York City Soccer Initiative (NYCSI) is a first-of-its-kind public-private community partnership to open 50 mini-soccer pitches in underserved NYC neighbourhoods in five years.
ABOUT MAYOR’S FUND TO ADVANCE NEW YORK CITY
The Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization working with 50 City agencies and offices, 300 institutional funders, and 100 community-based partners. The Mayor’s Fund works in partnership with the business and philanthropic communities to advance initiatives that improve the lives of residents in all five boroughs. It seeks to seed promising, evidence-based models; evaluate the efficacy of new public programs and policies; bring innovative solutions to scale; and respond to the emerging needs of the city by building public-private partnerships. First Lady of New York City Chirlane McCray is chair of the Mayor’s Fund Board of Directors. In addition, the Mayor’s Fund has an Advisory Board of prominent civic and business leaders to advise and assist the Board of Directors. Follow the Mayor’s Fund @NYCMayorsFund on Twitter and subscribe to their newsletter here.
ABOUT U.S. SOCCER FOUNDATION
The U.S. Soccer Foundation’s programs are the national model for sports-based youth development in underserved communities. Since its founding in 1994, the Foundation has established programs proven to help children embrace an active and healthy lifestyle while nurturing their personal growth beyond sports. Its cost-effective, high-impact initiatives offer safe environments where kids and communities thrive. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the U.S. Soccer Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization. For more information, visit www.ussoccerfoundation.org or follow us on Twitter and Facebook.