New York City Football Club (NYCFC) remains focused on evolving the practices and structure to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion at the Club and across the City.
Last summer, NYCFC announced the Club’s Starting XI Commitments as a pledge to make lasting, tangible, and ongoing commitments to the Black Lives Matter movement and to foster an inclusive, progressive culture in line with the Club’s core values of equality, dignity, and respect. One year later, the Club continues to educate and recognize Juneteenth with players, staff, and fans. This year, the Club will host the first-ever NYCFC Juneteenth Match, but initiatives will extend far beyond gameday.
NYCFC has proudly partnered with Black Players for Change (BPC) and Black Women’s Players Collective (BWPC). This season, the partnership will include the construction and opening of a mini-soccer pitch for the local community at Colonel Young Playground in Harlem on Juneteenth.
That same day, June 19, the NYCFC First Team will take on New England Revolution at 7:30pm ET at Red Bull Arena where the Club will be hosting Juneteenth and inclusivity related activities, spotlighting Black-owned businesses and organizations, and celebrating diversity throughout the stadium.
NYCFC has worked with a coalition of community partners – including BronxWorks, African Advisory Council, Andrew Freedman Home, Black Players for Change, Black Women’s Players Collective, Boys Club of NY, Central Brooklyn Soccer Club, City Year, East Side House, HEALTH for Youths, Human Advantage, Marcus Samuelsson Group, New York Edge, Renaissance Youth Center, Saturday Night Lights, South Bronx United, and Sunnyside Community Services – to create a robust lineup of activity.
Before kickoff, NYCFC and the Club’s charitable foundation, City in the Community (CITC), will host a Speed Mentoring event to connect local youth with mentors and help create pathways into career readiness and entrepreneurship. In-stadium, Bronx-based youth singing group, The Harlem Renaissance Youth, will sing the national anthem before kickoff, the Club will highlight DJ Mode’s efforts with after-school programs in underserved communities, and the Club will dedicate signage and in-stadium advertising space to messages focused on Juneteenth.
NYCFC Team Captain and Black Players for Change Board Member, Sean Johnson, commented:
“It is exciting to see the Club, our amazing fans, and players come together and step up to educate themselves and reflect on how we can bring about change, equality and justice to Black and Brown communities. Our NYCFC Juneteenth Match is a great platform for furthering education. At Saturday’s match, I will proudly wear the captain’s armband with lyrics from Lift Every Voice and Sing, and we will recognize Juneteenth. This is just the start. We will take action beyond matchday to better underserved communities. I am proud that our Club is partnering with the BPC and BWPC to construct a mini pitch in Harlem that will provide even more access to free soccer. Together and united we continue to make progress using the power of soccer.”
Additional Club activity to recognize and uplift Juneteenth includes:
• Team Captain, Sean Johnson, will wear a special Juneteenth armband with a line from Lift Every Voice and Sing. Two additional armbands will be auctioned off post-match with proceeds going to City in the Community (CITC) New York City.
• First Team players will wear MLS custom designed authentic jerseys designed by Israel Solomon, visual artist and art educator. Unworn jerseys will be auctioned off post-match to raise funds for a local Black charity chosen by the Black Players for Change.
• As an extension to the Club’s partnerships with BronxWorks, the Club has created a community coalition to highlight community partners, Black-owned businesses and organizations throughout New York City. They include: African Advisory Council, Andrew Freedman Home, Black Players for Change, Black Women’s Players Collective, Boys Club of NY, Central Brooklyn Soccer Club, City Year, East Side House, HEALTH for Youths, Human Advantage, Marcus Samuelsson Group, New York Edge, Renaissance Youth Center, Saturday Night Lights, South Bronx United, and Sunnyside Community Services.
• Leading up to Juneteenth, and throughout the year, the Club will continue to celebrate Juneteenth via the Juneteenth platform to educate and spotlight people and businesses around the City.
• The Club will profile one of our Pub Partners, a Black-owned Brooklyn-based business, Bed-Vyne Brew on official Club channels.
• In accordance with the Club’s Starting XI Commitments, NYCFC will observe June 18 as a holiday providing connected volunteering and educational opportunities for all staff.