NEW YORK CITY SOCCER INITIATIVE UNVEILS NEW 2020 MINI-SOCCER PITCHES WITH VIRTUAL RIBBON-CUTTING CEREMONY

– Now in the fourth year, the $3 million public-private partnership expands to 37 communities across the five boroughs

– Amid COVID-19, the initiative continues to create more safe places to play and access to free soccer programs

October 21, 2020 – Today, the New York City Soccer Initiative (NYCSI) partners—including the First Lady of New York City Chirlane McCray and NYCFC Goalkeeper Brad Stuver—will host a virtual ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the installation of seven new mini-soccer pitches across the city as part of the 50-pitch project.

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, New York City Football Club (NYCFC), the U.S. Soccer Foundation, adidas, and Etihad Airways, to create and maintain 50 mini-pitches across the city over five years and expand free soccer programming to 10,000 young New Yorkers.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the initiative remains on track to complete the installation of all 50 pitches by the end of next year. To date, a total of 37 pitches have been constructed throughout all five boroughs. Thousands of youth now have access to free programming—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 Foundation program—at these locations.

While this year’s celebration was moved online because of physical distancing protocols, this has not quelled the excitement of event participants. Today’s virtual event will be hosted by FOX5 Lead Sports Anchor Tina Cervasio and will include a performance by Renaissance Youth from the South Bronx and a video roll call featuring a ribbon cutting from each new site.

The centerpiece of this year’s event will be the culmination of a youth mini-pitch design contest. For the past month, students have been invited to submit artwork that showcases how a new safe place to play can come to life in their local community. 75% of the submissions were designed by young women with interest in soccer, design and architecture. Last week, the top three finalists were selected by a panel of renowned urban designers, community leaders, and representatives from each of the NYCSI partners including: David Hodge (Partner at Rafael Viñoly Architects), Rick Parisi (MPFP: Landscape Architecture & Urban Design), Jon Stemp (Chief Infrastructure Officer at City Football Group), Marta Hernandez (New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene), Paul Philps (Bronx Community Board Four), and Eric Klinenberg (Professor of Social Science and Director of the Institute for Public Knowledge at New York University).

The top three finalists will present their proposals during today’s virtual event and First Lady Chirlane McCray and NYCFC Goalkeeper Brad Stuver will award the grand prize. NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver helped to select the grand prize winner of the contest.

“Investing in recreational spaces for our children, builds stronger communities and brings New Yorkers together for positive and healthy social experiences,” said First Lady Chirlane McCray. “These safe places to play will provide more youth with opportunities to participate in sports and programs where they can develop the life skills that will help them succeed on and off the pitch.”

“Now more than ever, it is imperative that we invest in our greenspaces for the youth of this city, and I am thrilled that we have been able to complete seven new soccer pitches, with more to come, thanks to Mayor Bill de Blasio and all of our New York City Soccer Initiative partners, ”said NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP. “I would also like to give a special shoutout to Justine, Ashley, and Pedro, finalists for the Blue Pitch Design Contest. Your continued creativity, thoughtfulness, and care for your communities will help our city grow even stronger and more equitable in the years to come. Great work, to you all – keep it up!”

“This year we celebrate not only the unveiling of seven new soccer pitches built during the fourth year of the New York City Soccer Initiative, but also the power of partnership that saw us through the challenges of 2020,” said Toya Williford, Executive Director of the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, “Thanks to the unwavering support and commitment from the New York City Football Club, the U.S. Soccer Foundation, adidas, Etihad Airways, and the Staten Island Foundation, we are on track to achieve our goal of 50 pitches built by next year so that young New Yorkers will have a place to safely enjoy the world’s game.”

Now in our fourth year of the New York City Soccer Initiative, we are thrilled to open up seven new pitches in 2020, keeping us on track to build and provide free soccer programs on 50 mini-soccer pitches in just five years,” said New York City Football Club CEO Brad Sims. “This has proven to be a very challenging year for all, but at NYCFC, we have remained focused on our work within the local communities across the five boroughs. We are proud to continue to work alongside our dedicated NYCSI partners – the Mayor’s Fund to Advance NYC, U.S. Soccer Foundation, adidas and Etihad Airways. Over the last four years, we have seen the impact NYCSI is having across the City; our blue mini-pitches have become real community hubs. This is exactly what we are aiming to achieve – 50 safe spaces where people can come together around soccer. Soccer has a long and vibrant history in New York, and despite the challenges we’re facing, we continue to believe in the power of soccer to uplift communities across the five boroughs.”

“It is incredible to see what we’ve accomplished through this initiative over the past four years,” said Ed Foster-Simeon, president & CEO of the U.S. Soccer Foundation. “These mini-pitches are transforming neighborhoods and serve not only as a place to play, but as a place for neighbors and friends to gather. I’m proud of the work the NYCSI partners have done together, and I’m excited for the day when we complete our 50th mini-pitch in New York City.”

“As we work together with these incredible partners, towards our shared goal of creating and maintaining 50 soccer pitches in New York City, we are so proud to be a part of this momentous milestone,” said Jennifer Valentine, Senior Director Soccer, adidas. “At adidas, we believe that through sport we have the power to change lives and with the addition of seven mini-pitches, we are able to further create positive change in the communities that they serve.”

“At home in the United Arab Emirates, and around the world, Etihad Airways is proud to support soccer clubs because of the power the game has to bring people together. We have been providing services from New York to the world for more than a decade, and it is a privilege to also connect the youth of New York through the building of these soccer pitches. Now, more than ever, it is important to keep building these mini pitches so children have safe outdoor spaces to play,” remarked Yasser al Yousuf, vice president of commercial partnerships for Etihad Airways.

Site selection of the mini-pitches is targeted toward neighborhoods that are focuses of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Building Healthy Communities Initiative, NYC Parks’ Community Parks Initiative, and the Mayor’s Action Plan for Neighborhood Safety or the Young Men’s Initiative.

New York City Soccer Initiative Year Four 2020 Mini-Pitches

  1. Utopia Playground (Utopia, Queens) – 73rd Avenue &, Utopia Pkwy, Fresh Meadows, NY 11366
  2. Pomonok Playground (Pomonok, Queens) – Kissena Blvd. &, 65th Ave, Flushing, NY 11367
  3. Fresh Meadows Playground (Fresh Meadows, Queens) – 173rd St, Fresh Meadows, NY 11365
  4. PS 007 (East Harlem, Manhattan) – 160 E 120th St, New York, NY 10035
  5. PS 60 (Bulls Head, Staten Island) – 55 Merrill Ave, Staten Island, NY 10314
  6. PS 18 (Randall Manor, Staten Island) -–221 Broadway, Staten Island, NY 10310
  7. IS 117 Joseph H Wade (Tremont) – 1865 Morris Ave, The Bronx, NY 10453

New York City Soccer Initiative Mini-Pitches To-Date

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OUR PARTNERS

  • adidas

    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

    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.

  • AstroTurf

    AstroTurf

    For athletes and soccer enthusiasts, AstroTurf® is redefining how synthetic soccer fields are built and perform. The brand offers advanced, state-of-the-art synthetic turf systems with proprietary engineered technologies. A growing number of clubs, high schools, colleges, professional sports teams and municipalities continue to select AstroTurf’s LigaTurf-branded products for their premium quality, technical superiority, and safety. To learn more, visit the company’s recently redesigned website, www.astroturf.com/soccer. – See more at: https://ussoccerfoundation.org/article/astroturf-partners-with-the-u.s.-soccer-foundation-as-a-national-partner-for-field-building-program#sthash.FL8E8bAM.dpuf

  • CHA

    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.

  • Hunter

    Hunter

    Hunter Industries, the Foundation’s National Partner for Irrigation Equipment, is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of irrigation equipment for turf, landscape and soccer fields.  Hunter Industries’ focus is on landscape irrigation with a significant part of its business centering on the proper care and maintenance of sports turf. For more information, please visit hunterindustries.com. Please contact Lynda Wightman, 406-273-3073, lynda.wightman@hunterindustries.com with any questions regarding the U.S. Soccer Foundation’s grants program.

  • 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

    MLS WORKS

    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

    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

    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

    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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