Soccer Day kicked off in New York City with the ribbon-cutting of the new New York City Soccer Initiative mini-soccer pitch at Hostos Lincoln Academy of Science in the Bronx.
Representatives from NYCFC, the Mayor's Office, Etihad Airways, adidas, and the U.S. Soccer Foundation were all present on Monday morning to welcome the new wave of safe spaces to play for underserved communities across the Five Boroughs.
Here are the best of the speeches ahead of the ribbon-cutting...
Darren Bloch - Vice Chair, Mayor's Fund to Advance NYC
Today is the launch of Soccer Day here in New York City, a five-borough celebration of this sport which brings so many people together in a city of immigrants and a city that is looking to create healthier outcomes and energize communities. NYCSI is a real testament to the power of sport and what soccer can do.
Having the partnership of some of our school leadership means the world. For us, there is just an inherent power in partnering. You can go fast alone, but you go farther with others. The partners standing behind us are a real testament to how far we can go with this program.
Chirlane McCray - First Lady of New York City & Chair, Board of Directors for Mayor's Fund to Advance NYC
Happy Soccer Day everyone!
I am so excited to debut our newest soccer pitch and I can tell I am not the only one.
Soccer pitches like this one mean so much to the children in this city. It’s not just because they love the game; 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.
For kids that don’t live a few blocks from Central Park and need open spaces to play, nothing will stop them, they get creative, they set up their own fields, they use trashcans and backpacks for goalposts. We’re here today to make it easier for all children to enjoy the game they love. That’s why the Mayor's Fund created this partnership - not just to level the playing field, but to expand it for everyone.
Because of you, we now have 20 soccer pitches in all five boroughs. That means hundreds of hundreds of children can enjoy the joy and fun of soccer right there in their neighborhood.
These experiences will help them grow into healthy well-rounded adults and that’s a big win for them and for the whole city.
Jon Patricof - President of New York City FC
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.
We plan to provide soccer programs that are always free of charge for New York City school children and by creating these spaces, we are hopeful it will lead to the development of the next Claudio Reyna, David Villa, Alex Ring, or Sean Johnson, and we are grateful to have all four with us today.
This is delivering on our goal of making soccer accessible for everyone. Soccer Day in New York is truly a reflection of how soccer, the world's sport, continues to flourish in our great city.
Soccer is entertaining, but it also has the power to transform lives. This initiative is about harnessing the soccer effect, the undeniable force for good that our sport can be for young people and communities.
We are proud that the New York City Soccer Initiative has helped spark a nationwide movement of building even more pitches in urban spaces throughout the United States.
Ed Forster-Simeon - President & CEO of U.S. Soccer Foundation
What we are really celebrating is a changing of the landscape. Were transforming the landscape in New York City to make it accommodate the game and making it meet and match the needs of children across this city. As a native New Yorker I can’t be prouder to have this initiative first start off in New York City. What we’re doing is providing access for children to play right in their backyard.
At the U.S. Soccer foundation were committed to creating access and opportunities for children across this country because soccer has the ability to transform lives. children learn leadership, discipline and they develop healthy active lifestyles as players.
This is just part of a larger national effort. We're committed to building a thousand of these nationally by 2026 and, as is showing here in New York City, it is doable when you have strong partners who commit to making an impact for children.
Alejandra Miller - adidas
This beautiful blue pitch behind me and the other new fields we are opening today mark a huge and exciting milestone for the New York City Soccer Initiative.
It is an initiative and project that after the first year has proven to be impactful and sustainable, and we are honored to work with our terrific partners towards our shared goal of opening 50 new pitches throughout New York City.
We are proud to be part of this project, to bring 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.
For adidas, this is also an investment in the future of soccer in this country. We feel that allowing better access to the sport in all communities and demographics is how, as a country, we will continue to advance and have success on the world’s stage.