November 10, 2021
New York City Soccer Initiative transforms city landscape, brings soccer and safe play space to thousands of youth in all five boroughs
NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray today announced the completion of the 50th soccer pitch built as a part of the New York City Soccer Initiative (NYCSI), a project of the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City. The new mini-pitch, located at PS 184 Shuang Wen in Manhattan, was completed on schedule along with the 13 mini-soccer pitches that were built around the city this year.
“Investing in recreational spaces for our children builds stronger communities,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “I am grateful to the Mayor’s Fund and our partners for their commitment to provide more youth with opportunities to participate in sports and programs where they can develop life skills to succeed on and off the pitch."
“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."
The new mini-pitch is one of 13 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 created by the COVID-19 pandemic. 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 historically underserved communities—including the U.S. Soccer Foundation’s Soccer for Success program run by the Department of Youth & Community Development (DYCD) and New York City Football Club’s (NYCFC) 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 soccer programming. For more information on NYCSI and pitch locations visit https://www1.nyc.gov/site/fund/initiatives/city-soccer.page.
“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."
“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.”
“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," said Vincent Frascogna, Vice President, Americas, Etihad Airways.
“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 Gabrielle Fialkoff, NYC Parks Commissioner. “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.
“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.
"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.