- New tournament will use the power of soccer to bring together youth from all five boroughs
New York, NY – Today, the New York City Soccer Initiative (NYCSI) partners -- Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, reigning MLS Champions New York City Football Club (NYCFC), the U.S. Soccer Foundation, adidas, and Etihad Airways -- launched the NYCSI Community Cup, a celebratory 5v5 tournament that will bring together young people from all five boroughs to compete on the 50 blue mini-pitches that have been constructed by the partners all across the City in the last five years.
The free tournament will take place over two weekends, starting with coaching and skills-building clinics on Saturday, June 4. The second weekend will commence the 5v5 matches, starting on Saturday, June 11. The tournament will culminate in a knockout stage at 11AM on Sunday, June 12 at Flushing Meadows Corona Park to determine the champions of the first-ever NYCSI Community Cup. The Community Cup will also offer programming throughout both weekends, including free coaching and refereeing and skill clinics with the goal of promoting participation and inclusivity on NYCSI’s mini-pitches.
NYCSI Community Cup is being delivered by City in the Community (CITC) – the foundation proudly supported by NYCFC – and its partners. CITC will recruit and serve over 200 kids from across the city and form 25 teams that will represent their 25 communities. Additionally, CITC Young Leaders and volunteers from the community will help staff and support the events and programming throughout both weekends.
The Community Cup initiative picks up on the heels of NYCSI, a first-of-its kind $3 million initiative launched in 2016 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 programs. The 50th pitch was constructed last fall at PS 184 Shuang Wen and all fifty sites are open for play to the public. NYCSI partners have also committed to installing an additional 26 mini-pitches across the city in the lead up to the FIFA World Cup 2026™ which will be hosted across the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.
NYCFC CEO Brad Sims said: “The completion of our 50th pitch last fall was one of the proudest moments I have been a part of since joining NYCFC. At the very core of our Club is a commitment to serving the people of New York City, and this first-ever NYCSI Community Cup is an incredible way of doing that. Continuous programming on these mini-pitches that focused on inclusivity and accessibility to the sport we love is as foundational to our 50-pitch project as constructing the spaces. I am proud to see this tournament come to fruition and bring together young people from across our entire city.”
U.S. Soccer Foundation President & CEO Ed Foster-Simeon said: “The 50 mini-pitches and free programming that are now accessible across the city are transforming communities and benefiting thousands of young New Yorkers. We’re excited to continue working with our NYCSI partners to make soccer and its benefits available to more young people and families.”
adidas Director of Soccer Sports Marketing, Skate Noftsinger said: “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 wave of mini-pitches.”
Etihad Airways Vice President of the Americas, Vincent Frascogna said: “The completion of the 50th mini-pitch last fall and the launch of the NYCSI Community Cup is the fruition of a cause that has been of the utmost importance to the team at Etihad Airways. Soccer’s power to unify and connect communities is a quality that aligns closely with our values at Etihad Airways, and we are honored to have had the chance to work with our partners to make the game available to communities across New York City’s five boroughs.”
NYC Deputy Mayor for Strategic Initiatives Sheena Wright said: “We are grateful for the collaboration of our partners at the New York City Football Club, the U.S. Soccer Foundation, adidas, and Etihad for launching our first-ever NYCSI Community Cup. Summer is a critical time for our youth, and together, this programming will bring together over 200 young people across the five boroughs.”
NYC Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue said: “Let the games begin! We are so excited to host the New York City Soccer Initiative’s first-ever Community Cup tournament at our parks throughout the city, culminating with the crowning of the champion at Flushing Meadows Corona Park. We also wish to extend a special shout-out to the NYC Football Club, who has been a great partner for NYC Parks and the City -- in addition to operationalizing this tournament across all recently completed NYCSI 50 mini-soccer pitches, its sports clinics and free community programing is a wonderful benefit for the children of this city, promoting healthy lifestyles through sports and exercise.”
Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City’s Executive Director Daniele Baierlein said: “The New York City Soccer Initiative demonstrates the power of partnership that will benefit our next generation of New Yorkers. Bringing young people together from all five boroughs to participate in free, high-quality tournaments that NYCSI Community Cup will offer is an opportunity that will allow them to learn and grow into future leaders. I am grateful to our partners, the New York City Football Club, the U.S. Soccer Foundation, adidas, and Etihad Airways, who all collaborated to make this initiative happen.”
To learn more about NYCSI and find a mini-pitch near you, visit nyc.gov/site/fund/initiatives/city-soccer.page.