Kids play on the new LEGO mini-pitch in Albuquerque, NM
Let soccer do what soccer does.

Together, we can give millions of kids from underserved communities safe places to grow, thrive and build confidence for life.

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.