New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and the Mayor's Fund to Advance NYC, the U.S. Soccer Foundation, the New York City Football Club, Etihad Airways, and adidas announced the launch of the NYC Soccer Initiative, a first-of-its-kind public-private partnership that will build, maintain, and program 50 mini soccer fields in underserved neighborhoods across the five boroughs over the next five years – including ten fields within the next year.
The announcement comes with a pledge from all four partners to invest a total of $3 million to build and maintain the fields, and provide free programming for New York City school children, focused on healthy, active living, and mentorship. The program will serve 10,000 young New Yorkers through after-school soccer and mentoring programs, such as soccer clinics, festivals, youth summits, and night leagues to promote safe, active, and connected communities; this will also include a partnership with the City's Young Men's Initiative, providing young men of color with mentorship opportunities.
Through constructing these new fields and supporting afterschool programming and mentoring, the NYC Soccer Initiative will repurpose underutilized public spaces in our most underserved neighborhoods, creating safe areas to promote physical health, youth development and community engagement. Site selection for the fields will be targeted towards neighborhoods that are focuses of the Mayor's Building Healthy Communities Initiative, the Parks Department's Community Parks Initiative, the Mayor's Action Plan for Neighborhood Safety or the Young Men's Initiative.
A special thank you to our partners for making this first of its kind initiative a reality. The NYC Soccer Initiative will utilize the U.S. Soccer Foundation's Soccer for Success program and builds off the success of the New York City Football Club's Healthy Hat-Trick program. Nationally, these initiatives have served more than 15,000 young people with after-school programming, positively impacting youth in making healthier food choices and improving confidence.